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Pay Equity Cannot Be Left To Slide

Date: 20 June 02

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA) supports the issue of pay equity being back on the cabinet agenda. Past and current research by ATSA shows alarming disparities between the incomes of men and women, by qualification. This is a real problem that should not be fobbed off as impracticable by business. This is a problem that impinges on lives well beyond the workplace.

Because women earn less than men for the same qualification, they take longer to repay their student debt, meaning that they will pay more in interest. ATSA research shows that women take on average, two to three times as long as men to pay back their student loans. For example, a woman with a $20,000 loan and the same degree will pay on average $12,977 more in interest than a man who also has the same degree.

“Pay equity is, for the majority of women, a joke,” said Julie Pettett, President of ATSA. “Considering that a women with a degree will earn around $15,000 less on average than a man with a degree, I fail to see how any kind of pay equity operates in practice.”

“The government has done little research or made any policy initiatives in the area of education and pay equity,” said Pettett. “While ATSA is pleased to see that pay equity is back on the government agenda, we don’t want some half-hearted election offering. We want to see real change.”


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