Goldman Sachs confirms Government’s approach

  • Hekia Parata
Women's Affairs

The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hekia Parata, today welcomed a report from Investment Bank Goldman Sachs which confirms the Government’s approach to increasing women’s participation in the economy is the right one.

“To be more competitive as a country we need to be able to better use women’s skills and education,’’ Ms Parata says.

“The report says we could boost our GDP by a further 10 per cent by increasing women’s participation in the economy.’’

The report ‘Closing the Gender Gap: Plenty of Potential Economic Upside’, looks at how women are utilised in the economy.

“Since 1970 the rise in women’s employment rate has resulted in a 30 per cent increase in economic activity.

“But New Zealand is only three quarters of the way to unlocking the hidden value of the female labour pool,” says Ms Parata.

The report recommends a number of ways the gender gap could be further reduced including; investigating the career choice of girls, identifying emerging industries and working with employers to encourage more women into trades. The report also takes into consideration the rebuild of Christchurch.

“The report confirms there are many reasons for the gender gap and not just one answer, but a number of them,” says Ms Parata.

“The recommendations in the report are in-line with many initiatives our Government is already leading.’’

Goldman Sachs conducted a similar study in Australia which found Australia could boost their GDP by 11 per cent by increasing the participation of women in the economy,

As a result a dramatic change is underway. Women’s participation on ASX 200 boards has reached 11.7 percent, a 600 percent increase in new appointments in just one year.

Ms Parata, who visited Australia earlier this year, says the changes are being largely driven by male business leaders who are building gender equality into the strategies of their companies and who consider that this is adding value to their brands.   Major companies have set measurable targets for the advancement of women into senior management and board roles.

“This is something Government can play its part in but businesses need to take the lead,’’ says Ms Parata.

“We need to work together to find ways to increase women’s participation so we don’t miss out on the economic benefits greater participation brings.’’

 

Key Facts

New Zealand:

  • Women hold only 9.3 percent of top roles on NZSX top 100 companies.
  • Women hold less than 20 percent of senior management roles in those companies.
  • 57 of the top 100 companies have no women directors.
  • Participation has increased slowly; from 5.1 percent in 2003 to 9.3 percent in 2010.
  • The gender pay gap is 10.6 percent.

 

Australia:

  • Women hold 12.5 percent of board roles on ASX200 companies.
  • 79 of the top 200 companies have no women directors.
  • Participation has increased rapidly; from 8.3 percent in 2010 to 12.5 percent now.
  • 31 percent of new appointments to ASX200 boards have been women in 2011.