The Human Rights Commission is seeking to empower young women to tackle the gender pay gap with the launch of a new project – the $600k gap.
The project, which launched with a video and website today (www.the600kgap.co.nz), is aimed at creating an environment where women can share their experiences, concerns and advice about common challenges they face within the workplace.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says that while employers have a lot to answer for when it comes to the causes of the gender pay gap, there is also a need to look at how we can empower young women to improve their outcomes as well.
“Historically women in New Zealand have made great progress, however the fact remains that it’s still going to take us an estimated 40 years to close the gender pay gap. That’s far too long.
“On average, kiwi men working fulltime earn $262 more each week than kiwi women working fulltime. Over a 45-year career, that adds up to over $600,000.
“While unconscious and conscious gender bias in the workplace definitely has a huge impact, there are also a number of important stages and milestones in our lives and careers that contribute to the $600k gap, such as our approach to applying for jobs and our ability to negotiate our pay.
“Even during the filming of our video, we heard numerous examples of women feeling scared or uncomfortable when it came to negotiating their pay and that’s the sort of thing we want to change.
The Commission will be using feedback received via the website and through social media to develop a speaker’s series, which will address the most common concerns young women have.
“There is a wealth of intelligent and powerful women in New Zealand who can teach our next generations so much, simply by sharing their own experiences. Getting these sorts of women in front of those who are just finding their feet in the workforce will be a powerful way to set them on the pathway to success,” Dr Blue says.