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Women students alarmed at widening gender pay gap

Women students alarmed at widening gender pay gap

The recently released New Zealand Income Survey, showing a widening gap between the income of men and women, is of great concern to women students and is evidence that New Zealand still has some way to go in achieving equity in the workplace.

“These statistics demonstrate a reversal of previous trends that showed a slow but steady reduction in the gender pay gap, and this is very concerning,” said Karen Price, National Women’s Rights Officer of the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA).

The New Zealand Income Survey shows that pay for men in both full time and part time work increased significantly more than pay for women. Overall, the gender pay gap has increased, with women now earning on average only 82% of men’s earnings, compared to 86% in 2004.

“The repercussions of this widening gender pay gap will have far-reaching effects. Women’s ability to manage student loan debt will be impeded, as will retirement savings rates, and women’s ability to provide adequately for their families may suffer,” said Price.

This latest survey follows the University Graduate Destinations 2004 report by the New Zealand Vice Chancellors’ Committee, revealing lower average salaries for female graduates. This was despite female students graduating in greater numbers than males at all levels of tertiary study, and in all age and ethnic group bands. This ongoing prevalence of the gender pay gap is evidence of the continued undervaluing of women’s work generally.

The Government must immediately address these inequities. New Zealand needs a strong Pay Equity Commission and must implement thorough pay equity policies. We also call on Government to provide a fully funded public education system to address the profoundly inequitable and negative effects of user-pays tertiary education,” said Price.

The New Zealand Income Survey is conducted annually as a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey during the June quarter (April to June). For further information:
http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/info-releases/nzis-info-releases.htm

ENDS

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