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Increase in gender pay gap disappointing

Hon Louise Upston
Minister for Women

7 October 2016 Media Statement

Increase in gender pay gap disappointing

Minister for Women Louise Upston says she’s disappointed to see an increase in the gender pay gap.

The New Zealand Income Survey released today by Statistics New Zealand shows the gender pay gap is now 12 percent, up from 11.8 per cent in 2015.

“While it’s been encouraging to see a downwards trend in Gender Pay Gap figures over the past 17 years, this year’s result is disappointing.”

The income survey identifies the gender pay gap by measuring the difference in the median hourly wage between men and women in both full-time and part-time employment as at June 2016.

“Closing the gender pay gap requires making conscious, measured and reported efforts to tackle pay differences between men and women,” says Ms Upston.

“Employers must get better at collecting data and measuring progress.”

Ms Upston says employers need to focus on tackling the barriers that prevent women from advancing their careers, and ensure women are fully valued for the work they do.

“We know that leadership from the top matters. It is crucial that employers examine their own processes and take action to correct any gender pay gaps.”

Ms Upston says the government is working hard to address the gender pay gap and supported initiatives such the YWCA Equal Pay Awards, and the White Camellia awards, which celebrate commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).

“It is important to focus on all the factors that lead to the gender pay gap. One of my priorities is supporting and developing women leaders and I am working on increasing representation of women in governance and leadership.

“The Future Directors programme has been expanded into the state sector in order to increase the diversity of our future leaders. This complements the Ministry for Women’s nominations database, which assists women in putting themselves forward for leadership positions.”

Ms Upston also says the public service needs to lead by example.

“The Ministry for Women is working with the State Services Commission (SSC) to address gender pay gap issues in the public service. SSC now asks public service organisations to report on their gender pay gaps and include information on the action they are taking to address them in their four-year strategic plans.

“I encourage all employers to follow their lead so that New Zealand women can reach their full potential and make sure that their work is fully valued.”

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