Government drops the ball on gender equality

Press Release – Public Service Association

The Public Service Association says the latest United Nations report on gender discrimination confirms that the government has dropped the ball on pay and employment equity.

PSA MEDIA RELEASE

31st July 2012 – For Immediate Use

Government drops the ball on gender equality

The Public Service Association says the latest United Nations report on gender discrimination confirms that the government has dropped the ball on pay and employment equity.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) report says women continue to be underrepresented in senior management positions and that there has been a reduction in representation of women public chief executives. It also says there needs to be better monitoring to address pay and employment inequity for women.

Far from the gender pay gap closing, recent Quarterly Employment Survey figures show the pay gap between men and women in New Zealand has actually increased to around 13%.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott says in about a third of government departments the figure is as high as 20 per cent.

“That’s pretty disgraceful considering 59 per cent of public service workers are women. On top of that we’re now seeing that the already very low number of women leaders and chief executives in the public sector is falling further.”

“The government and the public sector should be leading the way and taking all steps possible to close the pay gap and ensure fairer representation of women. Instead when it took office the government moved very quickly to shut down the Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the Department of Labour and halt all pay and employment equity investigations,” she says.

The government has also given no commitment to act on the report by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner which highlighted the low pay and pay inequity facing thousands of women workers who form the backbone of our aged care sector.

“The Commissioner specifically recommended that the government has a legal obligation to sort out the pay inequalities these women workers face and it should honour that obligation,” Brenda Pilott says.

The PSA welcomes specific concerns raised in the CEDAW report around proposed changes to employment law which will seriously erode collective bargaining.

Brenda Pilott says “it’s well documented that women achieve better pay and conditions and their employment rights are better protected when they are covered by a collective agreement.”

“The PSA wholeheartedly supports the report’s recommendation that an independent evaluation be carried out to look at the potential impact of employment changes on women’s employment and trade union rights.”
ENDS

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