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Excuse to avoid addressing women’s pay equity

Media Release – 14 May 2009 - for immediate use

*Recession excuse to avoid addressing women’s pay equity - again*

Newly elected President of the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPWNZ), Angela McLeod, today condemned the Government’s decision to axe the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit.

“The decision to abolish the unit is a huge blow to the campaign for pay equity. Firstly the government halted investigations into pay disparity and now,” says Angela, “the Government is hiding behind the economic recession, giving the signal that women, once again, have to make the sacrifices to rebuild the economy.

Research shows that women in New Zealand are paid on average at least 12 per cent less than men doing the same jobs and the Government itself acknowledges that social workers in Child, Youth and Family, are paid 9.5 percent less than male employees doing work of the same level.

Pay inequity is contrary to two New Zealand statutes; Government Service Equal Pay Act 1960 and Equal Pay Act 1972 and internationally with ILO Convention 100. It is a form of discrimination as defined in CEDAW, (Convention on All forms of Discrimination Against Women) and the Human Rights Council held in May this year, recommends that New Zealand ‘adopt policies in order to achieve full gender parity.

“Not only is this Government acting in a seemingly illegal fashion under its own laws, but also those international treaties which it has ratified” says Angela, “this does not bode well for the future”.

“Working towards pay equity and fairness in working conditions has been one of the core concerns for BPW NZ since 1957 when it joined forces with the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women (NZFGW) and formed the Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity.

Our members' determination to achieve equity at work will not be stopped by this or any other Government.”

ENDS


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