Commissioners and senior leadership

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue

Dr Jackie Blue has been a tireless advocate for fairness in the workplace including the elimination of the gender and ethnic pay gaps that exist in both the private and public sector and the introduction of pay transparency.

In 2015, Jackie launched “Tracking Equalities at Work”, a web-based tool that provides an evidential base for monitoring fairness at work across employment, discrimination, leadership and pay. The tool allowed for breakdown across these indicators according to age, ethnicity, sex and disability

Jackie was instrumental in the launch of the Business and Human Rights Forum in 2016 whereby businesses were given the imperative that embedding human rights into practice was good for business. Since then Jackie has continued to encourage business to pave the way in mitigating human rights issues in their supply chains, leadership and culture.

In September 2016, Jackie penned an open letter to NZ Rugby, which received over 7,000 signatories in 24 hours responding to an incident involving a woman named Scarlett. She launched a campaign called “Love Rugby, Respect Women” and called for NZ Rugby to act with courage and integrity to address the culture issues regarding the treatment of women in their organisation. This led to the “respect and responsibility” project led by Eleanor Butterworth to change culture practices across the NZ Rugby Union.

In 2017, Jackie instigated the Family Violence Steering Group consisting of Vodafone, Fonterra, ANZ, Countdown, EY, The Warehouse Group and Ricoh. In 2018, this group launched a template family violence policy for businesses that offers victims additional paid leave, flexible work, counselling services and training. This policy aligns with Jan Logies Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act, which Jackie was a huge advocate for.

The Ethnic Minority Women’s Rights Alliance of Aotearoa (EMWRAA) is an important legacy that Jackie has created in the Women’s Rights portfolio. EMWRAA is made up of NGO’s and government groups advocating for issues that affect particularly ethnic minority women including forced marriage, dowry abuse, FGM and coercion related to immigration.

Jackie has chaired the Caring Counts Coalition which under her leadership has become a “go-to” advisory group for the government regarding the issues facing the aged care sector.

Jackie has been a passionate advocate of Pay Equity in her role as EEO Commissioner. During her term campaigned for closing the gender pay gap, and for legislation to require companies with over 100 employees to introduce pay transparency.

In July 2018, Jackie attended the New Zealand’s women’s rights examination before the United Nations CEDAW Committee in Geneva and called for recommendations on behalf of women including that there should be a cross-party strategy for addressing family violence that transcends government agendas and can be implemented by successive governments.

Throughout her time as a Commissioner she has remained determined that women must have equality in leadership. She wrote to the then Prime Minister, John Key to encourage him to make 50% of his cabinet women. Jackie has also advocated that political parties strive to include 50% women MPs. She has pushed for equality and diversity on boards in the private and public sector – advocating the use of quotas despite their unpopularity in some circles, and for boards in both the private and public sector to collect data not just on gender but also ethnicity and disability.