March 8 International Women’s Day : Time to ‘Count us in’
On Sunday woman all over the globe will be marking international women’s day. The International Trade Union movement’s theme for the day is ‘Count us in’.
“On International Women’s Day we celebrate all women workers - those in paid and unpaid work. We honour working women heroes who have stood out as champions for women’s rights at work. We celebrate Kristine Barlett and the many thousands of caregivers who are at the forefront of the historic struggle for equal pay In New Zealand,” CTU Women’s Committee Co-convenor, Sheryl Cadman, said.
Twenty years ago, governments adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – a ground-breaking road map for governments, civil society, trade unions and private sector actors for the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights.
Twenty years on, the challenges remain stark:
• While women’s labour force participation in New Zealand is high, women are over represented in insecure, precarious and undervalued work;
• Women’s average wages are between 13.3 and 29 per cent less than those of men;
• Gender-based workplace bullying and harassment is an all-too-tolerated feature of the workplace.
“On International Women’s Day 2015 the CTU calls for the Government and all employers to commit to ensuring all women, regardless of industry, are fairly paid, have decent and safe workplaces,” said Cadman.
“The Government must have a plan to ensure women’s access to fair pay and decent work. This needs to include extended paid parental leave, easy access to early childhood education for working parents, family-friendly policies at work and workplaces that are free from bullying and sexual harassment. This plan would lift hundreds of thousands of women and families out of poverty wages and incomes, meet the standard of decent work and provide for a sustainable future,” said Cadman.
“It’s time for the Government to change its mind-set. Start recognising, accounting and paying for the real value of women’s work,” said Cadman.