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Gender pay gap still growing – of course

Written By: - Date published: 12:18 pm, March 7th, 2015 - 42 comments
Categories: feminism, human rights, national, sexism, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. A good day to ask why the gender pay gap in NZ is still growing.

One of the first legislative acts of the current National government was to abolish the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit. (This action was completely in accord with their record on equity: “One of the first acts of the incoming National Government in 1990 was to dump pay equity legislation in place at that time”, and in 2002 it was Brash’s policy to abolish the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.)

Predictably, the fruits of this indifference:

GENDER PAY GAP GROWS TO $4

The pay gap between men and women in New Zealand continued to grow last year. By December 2014 women earned $4 less for every hour worked than men.

In December 2014 men earned an average of $30.67 for every hour worked while women earned $26.55.

TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb says that is just one reason why International Working Women’s Day, which this year takes place on Sunday 8 March, remains such an important event.

A combination of poor employment law which harshly affects the types of jobs where most women work, and abandoning active measures to address structural barriers and promote employment equity mean that New Zealand’s pay gap is getting wider.

“The pay gap was measured four times last year, and four times it grew. The average woman earns less than 87 cents for every dollar the average man earns. This is no good for women or for our economy.” …

National are no friend of women, so why vote for them?

42 comments on “Gender pay gap still growing – of course ”

  1. Foreign waka 1

    As NZ is getting economically closer to countries with a record of discrimination and lets just say it out openly, atrocities – the local society will change to adopt to the pattern of its imported culture. Its not a matter of a immediate appearance but a slow progress. NZ has a choice and can act on it. But I wouldn’t give it a lot of hope.
    Women in the western world are progressively becoming more and more the new version of slaves, bit by bit, expectation by expectation, non paid work increasing, “volunteering” a measure of “pride”. No wonder the young females are getting less educated but more violent.

  2. infused 2

    Have you bothered to work out how they come up with those stats?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Have to bothered to work out that if you have something to say, say it rather than expecting people to play your boring stupid twenty questions game?

    • Tracey 2.2

      Men are just worth more aye infused.

      • infused 2.2.1

        It was explained below. NZ stats have been explained before for this. They will always show a gap.

  3. I’d be interested in hearing your proposed mechanism to account for how the closure of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit caused an increase in the gender pay gap.

    The most likely explanation for the increase is in the linked article: “…poor employment law which harshly affects the types of jobs where most women work…” And that poor employment law has nothing to do with the National Party’s attitudes to women, rather its attitude to people who work for wages. That attitude means people shouldn’t vote National, regardless of whether they’re women and regardless of whether there’s a gender pay gap or not.

    The gender pay gap exists mostly because women are more likely to want part-time work, more likely to take their full parental leave entitlement, less likely to train for skilled work and less likely to push for advancement and additional responsibility. Those things aren’t the government’s fault; it may be that they’re in a broader sense “men’s” fault, but the government’s role in causing it and ability to do something about it is minimal.

    • Tracey 3.1

      Cool, thanks for putting that to bed.

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.1

        Anyone who has even a vague acquaintance with the use and misuse of statistics can spot what a steaming turd the “gender pay gap” is, when put in the hands of people who draw cartoons of male and female children looking at their genitalia and declaring it explains the “difference” in their wages. Sneering “mansplaining” doesn’t actually alter that situation.

  4. Foreign waka 4

    The current gender pay gap 2014 is across all countries measured – women earn 77% of men earnings. Once women get older this increases and when in retirement the decrease really becomes an issue. My assertion is that it is the fight for the full trough that is dominated by the “strong” gender (not a compliment on those terms).
    BTW, world wide reports IPLO to Forbes will show the same figures.

  5. Chooky 5

    imo…More than anything there is the need for a UBI

    http://www.bigkahuna.org.nz/universal-basic-income.aspx

    This would free up those of both genders to look after children , the elderly, the disabled…. and artists to follow their creative pursuits….from this there would be more gender equality ie more men would be willing to take time out from careers to look after children….and get involved in the caring professions eg nursing , teaching , which have been largely dominated by women….although they are not necessarily the best at it

    …scarcity creates salary inequality ….ie those able to work huge hours and / or have time consuming specialist training…..women are often excluded from the most lucrative careers because they look after children and have breaks in careers and /or training commitments

  6. nadis 6

    I’m not quite sure what I am supposed to be outraged by here, perhaps someone could link to info about how these pay gap stats are calculated/interpreted?

    As far as I can tell there is little difference in pay between men and women in the same occupation with similar training/experience. Is the gender pay gap because we are comparing higher paid male dominated occupations (say mechanic, builder etc) with lower paid female dominated occupations (say cleaner, rest home worker). I suspect a male cleaner gets paid the same as a female, and a male builder gets the same as a female, but builders in general earn 3 times as much as rest home workers.

    I know there is no gender pay gap in (say) teaching, or the police, there was none between female and male managing directors at banks I used to work at. I know plenty of law firm partners – male and female – who all get paid according to the same formula, and sex is not an input. I know plenty of primary school teachers and none of them gets paid more or less because of their sex. But teachers (call it 80% female) do get paid less than senior lawyers (call it 80% male). Is that the gender gap? A function of educational choice, child rearing choices, choice of preferred occupation etc? Or is it something different.

    Given these trends, I suspect the current male bias in the law profession (for instance) will disappear pretty soon.

    http://my.lawsociety.org.nz/in-practice/practising-law/legal-profession-statistics/gender-ratio-in-new-zealand-legal-profession,-september-2013ap determined?

    • I’m not quite sure what I am supposed to be outraged by here, perhaps someone could link to info about how these pay gap stats are calculated/interpreted?

      Given that the link to the statistics is right there in the post, I can only assume your comment is utterly disingenuous and an unsubtle attempt to undermine the concept of the gender pay gap, which has been thoroughly researched, documented and explained for decades.

      • nadis 6.1.1

        no I’m serious – please put some links in that I can follow.

        The NZ stats data is not interpreted in the way you think, perhaps you should click on the link and understand – I know I have and do. This gender data is calculated (for women) as total wages earned by women/total hours worked by women, and likewise for men. It doesn’t take into account differences in the type or quality or base pay of the occupation.

        I’ve no doubt that the 23% gap exists but that isn’t what you call the gender gap. That is a very clear misuse of statistics. Its analagous to saying that the average SAT score of white university student graduates is higher than the average SAT score of black students who drop out of high school at age 14 – therefore black people are less intelligent.

        Now if the argument is about access to higher paid occupations, or gender domination of certain occupations I get that – but all those NZ stats data show is that the average wage for men is higher than the average wage for women, with no adjustment for selection bias. An error so glaring and ridiculous, a first year stats student making it would get thrown out of class.

        So if those stats are the entire evidence for the argument then, by making it, you expose yourself as someone entirely bereft of common sense and basic statistical knowledge.

        I’m genuinely asking for links to a decent explanation of the issue – one that talks about bias when the comparison adjusts for selection factors, or for bias within the same occupation. As I say, I get the access arguments, which fortunately are changing – and you can see that from the law society data, and from anecdotes within my own family (I won’t bore you).

        But if you want to make this a shallow argument with gross misuse of statistics, and conflating two separate issues (access to certain occupations, how gender dominated occupations are valued and why) then go ahead. I’d prefer if you actually helped educate people who are mystified when they see such shallow arguments as outlined in the preamble to this posting.

        Surely the real arguments lie around why do women tend to choose (on average) crappier paid occupations than do men?

      • nadis 6.1.2

        Actually Stephanie, don’t bother responding.

        Ovid’s link below gives much of the info I am looking for, and given the detail of different indicators will probably show where the problems lie in NZ.

        You will note however the obvious difference between the NZ Stats data and the WEF report – wage levels are adjusted so like for like (male versus female) work are compared, not gross levels.

        From a very quick look at the report, looks like NZ would rank higher if we had fewer part time (and more full time) female workers, as full time workers earn more. So the reasons why women choose part time work over full time work probalby lie at the root of the gender gap. I note another coiuple of things about the report – NZ’s raw score is actually higher than it was in 2007 (pre gfc) and that we rank extremeely high in things like # of women in professional and techincal jobs, educational opportunity and attainment.

        But please, don’t use the 77% argument, that’s just stupid.

    • Tracey 6.2

      “As far as I can tell there is little difference in pay between men and women in the same occupation with similar training/experience. ” Great, I feel much better now. Thanks

      • Chooky 6.2.1

        the difference is that women to get into the top paying jobs either dont have children or have a partner who looks after the children or paid child care…nannies etc…eg very difficult to train to become an anesthetist and have a family at the same time…male anesthetists usually have wives who look after their family

  7. Ovid 7

    2014 was the first year New Zealand was not in the top 10 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (large PDF). NZ has fallen to thirteenth place.

    The top 20 are:

    1. Iceland
    2. Finland
    3. Norway
    4. Sweden
    5. Denmark
    6. Nicaragua
    7. Rwanda
    8. Ireland
    9. Philippines
    10. Belgium
    11. Switzerland
    12. Germany
    13. New Zealand
    14. Netherlands
    15. Latvia
    16. France
    17. Burundi
    18. South Africa
    19. Canada
    20. United States

    So what are the Nordics doing right, and how can we emulate them?

    • Chooky 7.1

      note the first five countries have something akin to a UBI…certainly childcare is shared more equally between the genders and childcare facilities would be very affordable

    • Tracey 7.2

      A few of them have longer paid annual leave than us too.

      • thechangeling 7.2.1

        And centralised wage fixing systems with multi-employer collective agreements the norm, across both the public and private sectors.

    • TheContrarian 7.3

      The Nordics do a lot of things right. The Nordic model of social democracy is, in my opinion, the best model.

  8. Nothing to see here woman-persons, just move along please…Actually – shut up. And don’t you dare use “man-splaining” – women explain things too, you know. In fact – feminists are really mean. And they make stuff up – like this article! Yeah – go away with your women’s days and your unreasonable complaints about stuff that’s really your own fault (your choosing part time work for example). Now can we talk about important things – things that impact on men.

    • If you don’t like one of my comments, there’s a “Reply” button there for your convenience. As an alternative to whining because you don’t like it when someone ( a man! What a sexist!) points out an obvious example of misuse of statistics, have you considered maybe mounting an argument in favour of that misuse of statistics?

      • marty mars 8.1.1

        You are the whiner bud and a bore with your mansplaining.

        • Psycho Milt 8.1.1.1

          So, you get to spout obvious and egregious bullshit and anyone who points this out is “mansplaining?” Fuck you. Present a persuasive argument or accept that people are going to be unconvinced.

          • te reo putake 8.1.1.1.1

            Man gets angry late on Saturday night … yeah, that’s never happened before 🙄

          • marty mars 8.1.1.1.2

            Take it up with the author of the post – some men are always unconvinced with anything apart from what THEY think with this type of topic.

          • r0b 8.1.1.1.3

            PM, your arguments explain part of the effect, but not all of it – there is no misuse of stats. It’s too late for me to cover this properly, but some quick readings for you…

            American example:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/upshot/the-pay-gap-is-because-of-gender-not-jobs.htm

            Pay Gap Is Because of Gender, Not Jobs

            Are women paid less than men because they choose to be, by gravitating to lower-paying jobs like teaching and social work?

            That is what some Republicans who voted down the equal pay bill this month would have you believe. “There’s a disparity not because female engineers are making less than male engineers at the same company with comparable experience,” the Republican National Committee said this month. “The disparity exists because a female social worker makes less than a male engineer.”

            But a majority of the pay gap between men and women actually comes from differences within occupations, not between them — and widens in the highest-paying ones like business, law and medicine, according to data from Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University labor economist and a leading scholar on women and the economy.

            In NZ
            http://stoppress.co.nz/blog/2012/12/ywca-and-ddb-wage-war-gender-pay-gap

            A number of recent studies show women in New Zealand are paid on average ten percent less for doing the same job as men—and the pay gap is widening.

            Another
            http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU0905/S00357.htm

            Women in New Zealand are paid on average at least 12 per cent less than men doing the same jobs. In the public sector the gap is as much as 35 per cent. The Government has agreed for example, that female social workers in Child, Youth and Family, are paid 9.5 percent less than male employees doing work of the same level. They have already seen the investigation into this discrimination halted, been told that they cannot have fair pay because it would cost too much, and now the unit charged with monitoring and guiding pay equity in the public sector has been axed

            Another
            http://www.ywcapayequity.org.nz/demandequalpay.html

            Many believe pay gaps form when women start to have children, but we’re seeing it occur much earlier than this. In fact, within the first three-five years of graduate employment. The NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants surveyed its own industry to discover that male chartered accountants with five years’ experience or less earn $3,605 more than their female counterparts. And this kind of evidence is not uncommon across the private sector,”

            There is a real problem here.

            • Murray Rawshark 8.1.1.1.3.1

              +1
              Well explained, but I suspect the mansplainers will not be moved by it.

            • Psycho Milt 8.1.1.1.3.2

              The comment about misuse of stats referred to propaganda like “that explains the difference in our wages” and “paid 12% less because you’re a woman.” It’s very much a misuse of stats to pretend averages tell you something about any particular individual.

              However, it’s also a misuse of stats to take some average difference and make it a political tool without doing the work to figure out what factors account for the difference. For example, if we were to take the difference in incarceration rates for Maori and Pakeha and declare that it means Maori commit more crimes and what’s the government doing to crack down on Maori crime, that would definitely be a misuse of statistics. The fact that in this case it’s the “good guys” misusing the statistics doesn’t make it OK.

              As to your links: if the CTU really has evidence that “Women in New Zealand are paid on average at least 12 per cent less than men doing the same jobs,” they should make it available to the women involved. Existing equal pay legislation means those affected could keep the employment courts busy for decades. However, I notice the release is careful further on not to refer to the “same jobs,” but to “work at the same level,” which is open to wide interpretation.

              Even the link about chartered accountants’ pay doesn’t tell much without knowing how chartered accountants are paid – eg, if they’re paid salaries by employers, yeah that’s pretty damning; but if they’re paid according to hours worked, on commission etc, the difference is a “so what?” issue. Our universities are full of social scientists who get paid to research stuff like this, but “research” involves a bit more than finding an average difference and making shit up about what it means.

              • miravox

                Re: work to the same level

                A matter of law it seems, not wide(r) interpretation. The eventual employment court outcome of this case will be fascinating

                Last October, the Court of Appeal upheld the Employment Court’s decision. It found the test for determining whether a predominantly female workplace had complied with the Equal Pay Act involved comparing female employees’ remuneration with what a hypothetical male, with the same or substantially similar skills, responsibility and service performing the work, would receive.

                In making this comparison, courts may take account of remuneration evidence from other employers and sectors, where male employees from the target employer are not appropriate comparators. In addition, where there is evidence of a systemic undervaluation of the work on grounds of sex, this must also be considered in assessing whether the employer has complied with the Act.

                • Much as it’s nice to see some low-paid workers getting a good result, this approach seems to assume there’s some objective, identifiable “value” for a particular job – which there isn’t. Also, although this is being presented as a gender gap, the article points out that the people who stand to benefit from it work “…in industries that operate on slim margins funded largely by public grants..” Any compelling evidence that it’s not this, but gender, that accounts for the low pay?

                  There have been attempts to assign an objective financial worth to particular jobs via job evaluation systems. In my own public sector workplace, that resulted in the librarians and the software developers being on the same pay grade. Which was OK for the librarians, but not so great for the software developers. And because software developers, unlike librarians, are in high demand in the private sector, the nett outcome was high turnover among the IT staff and the inability to attract top candidates.

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    ”this approach seems to assume there’s some objective, identifiable “value” for a particular job – which there isn’t.”

                    You’ve ignored the very premise of Bartlett’s case, which contends the economy under-values caring because it’s a female dominated profession. The courts say it’s valid to compare the sector with male-dominated industries which have similar levels of skill, service and responsibility. Of course that will be challenging, but they wouldn’t make the ruling if there was no point in seeking relevant comparisons to try to determine value.

                    ”’And as most potential equal pay claimants work either in the public sector or in industries that operate on slim margins funded largely by public grants, any awards are likely to have significant ramifications for the funding structure of the relevant organisations.”

                    When you quoted this you missed the second bit of the sentence, which says any awards will have big funding ramifications. It’s kind of obvious, but surely you realise many people are funded from the public purse, including highly paid doctors, bureaucrats, and politicians?

              • Foreign waka

                How about women starting to charge for domestic services that men dare not do because its “female work”.
                You wont be able to pay for that even if you are in a high paying job.
                Your argument is fraught by 18th century attitude and reminds me on the on the treatment women have had in the Irish potato famine.
                What has really changed? Nothing, other then technology has given men another dimension of suppression. Anything, anything but no change please seem to be your motto.

  9. I think this gender pay gap and the additional outrageous fact that it is growing!!! to be utterly unacceptable. This is inequality in action and in front of EVERYONES eyes. ffs imo there are NO acceptable reasons for this gender pay gap – it is a glaring example of our patriarchal society and I repeat utterly unacceptable!!

  10. Chooky 10

    +100 marty mars…and it would be great to have karol on here posting/commenting….also i wonder how many of the commenters here ( much as their analysis is appreciated) are females…this in itself would be very interesting…and would say much about women’s role in society…imo one of the reasons why women get lower paid is because they dont have a voice in society unless they shout very loudly above the men ….and even then they are often ignored

    ( good questions as to why: patriarchal society?… still imbued with patriarchal monotheistic religious values about women?…eg. for a long time the Catholic Church opposed equal pay for equal work ….and also opposed married women going out and working)

  11. Heather Grimwood 11

    Three great speeches from UN 59th Commission on Status of Women will interest participants in this column, particularly as NZ has slipped in order of
    achieved implementation of goals.
    Lydia ALPIZAR..AWID executive
    Helen CLARK…..UNDP
    Phumzila MLAMBO-NGCUKA Exec -Director UN Women ….interview on France 24, all powerful, but this last, possibly because a video, is unforgettable.

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