The Human Rights Commission says New Zealand cannot continue with “business as usual” in the wake of the latest statistics revealing the nation’s gender pay gap is at a six-year high, up to 11.8% from 9.9% this time last year.
“The fastest way to reduce our entrenched gender pay gap is to improve the wages of those New Zealanders in the lowest paid jobs: the overwhelming majority of whom are women,” said EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue.
“Two-thirds of adult minimum wage earners in 2014 were women. The Aged Care Workforce Survey revealed that close to two-thirds of aged care workers were also the sole earners for their families: closing the gender gap will also help our children.”
“Gender equality isn’t a women’s issue it’s a human issue and a human rights issue. We need to normalise gender equality so it becomes a reality for everyday New Zealanders” said Dr Blue.
The Commission's Tracking Equality at Work also revealed women and young people are more likely to be paid less than any other New Zealand workers. Pacific women were at the bottom of the pay ladder.
“Our most marginalised group of workers - young women (aged 15-24) are paid less than half the average hourly wage of our least marginalised group of workers, Pakeha men (aged 45-64),” said Dr Blue.
“Gender equality doesn't just improve the lives of women it improves the future of entire generations.”