Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


It’s not personal preference, it’s gender inequality

In response to: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/104289958/nurses-and-teachers-salaries-crunched-by-the-rising-cost-of-living--and-housing-in-particular

BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander says the cost of living – and your quality of life – depends on what individual people need to spend their money on to feel good. But some have limited – or no – choice and the fact that nurses and teachers are under-valued is not about personal preference, it’s about gender inequality.

Gender inequality is a society wide issue, but we often treat it as an individual issue that individuals can solve. I don’t believe it’s about personal preference at all – it’s about structural and social norms. Gender inequality relies on traditional and out-dated gender roles. Most of the time, we’re given two options – you’re either a man or a woman. And being a man or a woman comes with these stereotypes about being a “real man” or a “real woman”. For women, these stereotypes are often based around being caring and looking after others. This can cause roles such as caregiving, work, early childhood education, social work and nursing to be considered to be of less value.

Of course, we see these stereotypes play out in the way some occupations are gendered. Results from our recent Gender Attitudes Survey show that 41% of New Zealanders think being a builder is more suited to men. Meanwhile, 24% think that being a nurse is more suited to women.

But we need our nurses and our teachers to be valued properly, and fairly. Roles like these require lengthy professional training and a wide range of competencies and are absolutely essential for a healthy, thriving society. We need to recognise the low pay in these roles for what it is – an undervaluing of women.

Professor Paul Dalziel, Lincoln University Economy Professor says that "teachers and nurses are ordinary New Zealand professionals with the same preferences as other New Zealanders. They have spent years in education in the expectation of being able to own a home that is dry and warm and being able to raise their own children well.”

“If the salaries of nurses and teachers do not support these reasonable expectations, then fewer people will choose these professions. This would be bad for New Zealand. If we make these professions unattractive to talented people, the whole country will feel the impact. We have to invest well in the professional staff of our education and health institutions” says Dalziel.

Women in these roles aren’t choosing to have a lower quality of life, especially if they are the sole caregiver. They have a lower quality of life due to systematic inequality. If we don’t start valuing these roles properly, we will lose people in these professions who are contributing to a better New Zealand. After all, no matter how much people are committed to their profession, there is only so much under-valuing they can take before they move on.

Gill Greer is Chief Executive of the National Council of Women of New Zealand

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: Ten reasons to have hope for a better Media in the future

Last week, I wrote about the news crisis in 2018 and why there is hope for journalism despite of (or perhaps because of) this dire situation. This piece will explore what exactly gives us hope at Scoop and will outline some tangible projects and approaches to dealing with this crisis that Scoop is looking to explore in the coming months - years. From tech innovations such as the blockchain, AI and VR, to increased collaboration between newsrooms and new community ownership models, there is plenty of reason for hope.

So, here are ten reasons to have hope for a better media in 2018 and beyond: More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The EU Trade Talks With NZ

In the very unlikely event that all will be smooth sailing in negotiating access to Europe for agricultural products from this part of the world, the EU/NZ negotiations could be wrapped up in about two years – which is relatively fast when it comes to these kind of deals. At best then, we won’t see any concrete benefits until half way through the next term of government. More>>


World Refugee Day: What 7 Former Refugee Kids Love About New Zealand

RASNZ asked 7 members of their specialist youth service (along with two staff members who work with refugee background youth) how they felt about New Zealand – and filmed the responses. More>>


Pay Equity Settlement: Affects 5000 Mental Health Support Workers

Health Minister Dr David Clark is pleased to announce an estimated 5,000 mental health and addiction support workers will soon receive the same pay rates as care and support workers. More>>


DHBs: Nurses Plan Strike Action For Next Month

Nurses across the country have confirmed a notice of a 24-hour strike, starting on 5 July. District Health Boards (DHB) were working on contingency plans following a notice to strike by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation. More>>


Oranga Tamariki: Children's Ministry Shifts Away From Putting Kids In Care

Children's Minister Tracey Martin is signalling a shift away from putting children into care, and towards intensive intervention in a child's home. More>>


But No Way To Tell Why: Significant Drop In HIV Diagnoses

A new report shows that for the first time since 2011, the number of annual HIV diagnoses in New Zealand has fallen. But without funding for a repeat of ongoing surveys to monitor changes in behaviour, testing and attitudes, health workers can’t be sure what’s driving the decrease. More>>


On Her Majesty's Public Service: Inquiry Into Spying Claims Extended To All Govt Agencies

In March, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes announced an inquiry after it was revealed the firm spied on Canterbury earthquake claimants for Southern Response. The inquiry was furthered widened to include the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, who had been spying on Greenpeace staff. More>>





Featured InfoPages