A gender stocktake of appointments to state sector boards reveals some Government ministers are doing very well while others need to try a lot harder says EEO Commissioner Jackie Blue.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs gender stocktake of state sector appointments shows little has changed in ten years: including those years when Labour were in power.
“It’s 2015 not 1915: Ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards must do better, they have no excuse but to do better,” said Dr Blue.
“I congratulate those ministers close to achieving equity and urge their colleagues to see them as best practice.”
“Ministers doing well include: 45% (Upston) and 50% (Tolley, English) and those who have slightly surpassed 50% (Woodhouse, Coleman, Dunne, Parata). Minister Goodhew achieved 66% female representation and the case must be made that future appointments need re-balancing.”
“However ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards (McCully, Bridges, Brownlee, Key) have a lot of catching up to do.”
Women made up 41.7% of all state sector boards and committees last year – up only 0.7% since 2004. Back then the aim was to reach the 50% target by 2010 and the comment was made that the last 9% would be the hardest to crack. After 2010 it was clear that the target of women making 50% of board appointments had not been met and it was reduced to a 45% target by 2015.
“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.
“Gender equality doesn't just improve the lives of women it improves the future of entire generations.”
“There is growing evidence that gender balanced boards function better and are good for business. Government ministers have a real opportunity to lead by example.”
The 2014 World Economic Forum’s annual report on the gender gap saw New Zealand drop in global rankings from seventh to thirteenth. The top five countries for gender equality in order were Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Dr Blue says “the argument that there are not enough suitably qualified women is a weak one: Kiwi women are some of the most educated in the world.”