Continued focus on Women needed as Gender Pay Gap holds steady

  • Hon Julie Anne Genter

“As we rebuild after COVID-19, our commitment to paying women fairly remains firm,” says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter, after today’s release of the national gender pay gap from Stats NZ.

“The official pay gap statistic shows the nationwide gender pay gap remains statistically stable at 9.5 per cent – but when and how the data was collected will conceal many of the impacts of COVID-19 on women.

Data was collected from March to July – during and immediately after COVID-19 levels 4 and 3 lockdown.

“Weekly earnings for women increased 4.8 per cent and 3.1 per cent for men – which does not count the large numbers of women in precarious or low paid work who may have lost their jobs or are receiving the wage subsidy, leaving higher earning women in the remaining workforce.

“Gender equity matters now more than ever - women, particularly non-European women, are more impacted by the labour market effects of pandemics and economic downturns.

“Affordable childcare has a huge impact on women’s availability for work, and will be critical in supporting women back into the workforce in the COVID-19 recovery.

“Government initiatives – such as the wage subsidy, minimum wage increases and pay equity settlements with teachers and nurses - will have supported both men and women during this difficult time, however we need to be vigilant to support women in their employment to avoid a repeat of the long-term impacts on women from the Global Financial Crisis.

“I congratulate those employers in New Zealand who are supporting women by closing their gender pay gaps and have fair and inclusive workplaces.

“The gender pay gap is not immovable - it responds when chief executives decide to support diversity and pay equality and make changes to support women within their organisations.”

The Ministry for Women has made guidance available on a range of gender pay gap-related topics so that all employers can measure their gender pay gaps, and take action to pay women fairly.

“There is clearly more work to do so our daughters get paid fairly, like our sons.

“This Government is delivering for women by passing pay equity legislation, delivering record pay settlements for female dominated workforces, and closing the gender pay gap with the Action Plan in the public sector,” says Julie Anne Genter.