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National still hate women

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 pm, June 17th, 2009 - 65 comments
Categories: public services, same old national, sexism, Social issues - Tags:

Despite women being 51% of the population, and it being women who won National the last election, they are still showing their contempt for us.

State Services Minister Tony Ryall decided that pay equity isn’t important, dropping a study into why female public servants are still paid less than their male counterparts in the same job with the same qualifications. His justification? Pay equity investigations could apparently “generate an additional form of remuneration pressure that is unaffordable in the current economic and fiscal environment”.

Well Mr Ryall, I would rather see women receive a fair deal, and if you can’t afford to spend more, wouldn’t it be fair to at least ensure any pay reviews or new employments result in women being paid the same as men? I would rather see men paid less if it means pay equity.

But actually, I think the worst part about dropping this study is that Tony Ryall didn’t even consult the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Pansy Wong. Women’s affairs isn’t really a ministry there is very little stand-alone funding for it ($4 million per year) its purpose is to be a voice for women in all portfolios. Not consulting the Minister of Women’s Affairs on something so blatantly relevant to her portfolio makes me wonder exactly what she is there for, and what she is consulted on. At least Don Brash was up front and honest about wanting to scrap Women’s Affairs.

Along the same lines, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has scrapped the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit. Her justification? Apparently “good employers will work to tackle it”. Well clearly New Zealand employers are not good employers, because women in New Zealand are still paid on average 12% less than men.

ACC are cutting the funding from Auckland Sexual Abuse Help’s 24 hour support line. Auckland Sexual Abuse Help answer calls 24 hours a day, often emergency situations where a woman rings up and says she has just been raped. They will provide someone to support her through everything while she goes to the police station to complain, while she makes her statement to a (probably) male police officer, while she goes through the ordeal of having a forensic examination at the hospital, when she fronts up to testify in court and they will provide her with ongoing counseling if needed.

National made a huge song and dance about the Plunket line funding being cut, despite there being another service doing the same job. Yet here they are cutting a vital service that will no longer be provided if funding cannot be found somewhere else.

The recent budget also reduces the training incentives allowance, largely given to women on the Domestic Purposes Benefit who want to get back into the work-force. I’m pretty sure this, and the cuts to adult community education will hinder our ability to get out of the recession.

When National brought back royal titles, they could have at least amended the really sexist parts, like (Hat Tip: Stargazer at The Hand Mirror):

  • In order for the wife of someone with the title of ‘sir’ to be able to use the title of ‘lady’, she must have the same name as her husband. If she chooses to retain her own name, she cannot use the title.
  • The husband of a ‘dame’ is not given any title whatsoever.
  • Only men can go through the ceremony of knighthood (there doesn’t seem to be any female equivalent).

There are a whole bunch of other policies which disproportionately effect women. I’m sure I have missed many of them, but they include appointing Christine Rankin to the Families Commission, cutting adult community education, deporting women for getting pregnant, cutting overseas aid, merging NZAID back into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, not inviting women’s groups to the jobs summit, and not increasing the minimum wage.

 

UPDATE: Following the debate in the comments thread on the pay equity stats, the best I can find is this from Statistics NZ. Women are paid less than men, and not just because they work less – this is pay per hour. However I am still keen to find stats on comparable pay for the same level of job.

 
 
 
 

65 comments on “National still hate women ”

  1. mike 1

    What a pathetic heading for a post rocky. Things seem to be getting worse by the day at the once proud standard.

    • rocky 1.1

      Got any comment on all the things I actually used to justify my heading?

      • mike 1.1.1

        you lost me @ ‘hate’

        I assume the post is about all men being rapists?

        • rocky 1.1.1.1

          Oh right. Post on women’s issues and get accused of being a man-hater. At least I justified my use of “hate”.

          • mike 1.1.1.1.1

            “and get accused of being a man-hater.”

            lol – Nats try and allow women to stand on their own 2 feet and get accused of being women-haters

            Have some pride in your sex lady and give up creating victims.

          • rocky 1.1.1.1.2

            Mike how is cutting funding to an essential service like Auckland Sexual Abuse Help’s 24 hour phone line, helping women stand on their own two feet?

            How is having sexist legislation like the royal titles helping women stand on their own two feet?

            How about cutting the training incentive allowance, which helps women get back into the work-force so they can stand on their own two feet?

        • mickysavage 1.1.1.2

          Keep reading Mike

          The headline is appropriate. Depressing but true …

  2. Well clearly New Zealand employers are not good employers, because women in New Zealand are still paid on average 12% less than men for the same job with the same qualifications.

    I think you’ll find that 12% gap is across the board, not for same job and same qualifications (which would positively invite a lawsuit). But leaving aside the glaring “lies, damned lies and statistics” issue, there’s the not-inconsequential matter of employers having to deal with individual employees, not statistical averages. I see a lot of noisy outrage over this gap in the statistical average, but no serious suggestions re what to do about it beyond “Gimme some money, asshole” – which was exactly Tony Ryall’s point.

    • rocky 2.1

      No pretty sure that was same job same qualifications. Closer to 20% if pay in general.

      As for dealing with individual employees – the funding that Ryall cut was for a study into why the pay gap is there. The sort of information that would come from such a study is what we need to be able to work out what policies will help.

      • Anita 2.1.1

        I’m pretty sure 12% is across the board not same job, but I could be persuaded. I shall link to this and this to back up my assertion tho 🙂

    • The NEON site you linked to has Judy McGregor saying “For every $1 earned by men in New Zealand today, women earn just 88 cents.” Nothing there about same job and quals. If it were same job and quals, the answer would be entirely straightforward because we already have laws relating to equal pay.

      We already know why the pay gap is there – it’s because women tend, on average, to work fewer hours and in lower-paid jobs than men. Ryall isn’t really in a position to do anything about that.

      • rocky 2.2.1

        Yes I know. My problem is that I keep finding different sources quoting different things. I wish they would refer to their sources!

        Try this one for example, a press release from the CTU:

        “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.”

      • Anita 2.2.2

        Some of it is related to the factors you suggest, but not all of it is.

        Also, the “women tend, on average, to work … in lower-paid jobs than men” is a bit chicken and egg, there’s evidence we pay professions which are predominantly women significantly less than equivalent predominantly male jobs.

        • Psycho Milt 2.2.2.1

          Why do we do that? And why are those professions female-dominated? For feminists, the answer is straightforward: Teh Men are Sexists. Well, that could be the case, but I’d prefer to see something like a convincing argument before drawing conclusions.

      • Psycho Milt 2.2.3

        Frankly, I don’t trust the CTU for accuracy on this issue, because the people issuing the figures have a direct interest in what the figures describe.

        But assuming it’s correct: again, we’re talking about statistical averages. If female social workers earn on average 9.5% less than male social workers at the same level, what are the relevant seniority levels? If a relatively small number of male social workers have been in the job an average of 10 years, and a large number of female social workers includes plenty of new entrants, it’s no surprise if the women’s average pay is lower. There are plenty of factors like this that can affect the outcome. The fact is, statistical average is a very limited piece of information that provides no basis for dealing with actual employees.

      • mickysavage 2.2.4

        I agree with Anita

        The classic example was the pay of Police Constables verses the pay of Nurses. The commitment and stress and skills required are similar but Nurses (female dominated) were paid much less than Police (male domianted).

        Helen and the last Government did a great deal to improve the pay of nurses and this caused the complaints from Ryall that productivity had gone down and that the cost had gone up without the commensurate increase in outputs. That is what happens when you increase an employee’s pay.

        The situation is complex. The trouble with cutting the funding for research is that it will never be understood.

        • nic 2.2.4.1

          Hhmmm, not too sure about the police and nurses. Is it possible that the fact policemen (and women) risk getting shot to death by armed gunmen has something to do with the pay discrepancy? “Danger pay” and all that.

          You might need to hunt round for a better example there micky.

          • mickysavage 2.2.4.1.1

            Nic

            Check out the ACC levies for the different occupations. Being a policeman appears to be statistically not that dangerous.

            Also being a nurse amongst other things exposes you to terrible illnesses every day of your working life.

            I would actually rate the job of being a nurse even more difficult than that of being a police officer although I do admire the people who do both jobs.

            The example is one that has taxed policy makers for many years. I use it because it is the classic example of preference for males, comparable skills, similar stress, similar commitments, way different pay. It has been raised many times as an example.

          • lprent 2.2.4.1.2

            I’d bet that nurses face more danger routinely than police do. After all they spend their time around sick people, who while they don’t intend to, are actively exporting their flora and fauna onto nurses and doctors.

            Not to mention that the deranged lunatics off of their head on P or missing their meds get taken to see nurses.

            How about thinking it through?

          • Anita 2.2.4.1.3

            nic,

            Just to reinforce mickysavage’s point…

            Here are the current ACC levy tables. You will note that being a police officer ($0.50 per $100) is safer than working in a hospital ($0.52) or being a nurse in a community or residential care role ($1.10).

            Of course dealing with a drunk on a street on a Saturday night is far more manly? than dealing with the same drunk in A&E.

          • Phil (not Goff) 2.2.4.1.4

            Anita,

            I would be very careful with those figures. Two points worth noting:

            Being a prostitute attracts a base levy of $0.48c – lower than the Nurse and Police Officer. Would you suggest that being a prostitute is a safer career alternative? I think not.

            I previously worked, peripherally, on the development of the occupational classification which underpins these levys. The police category, as far as I recall, also includes police officers and staff behind desks – this brings down the averages substantially. On the other hand, hospital administration staff are included in health and community services #’s 86390 and 86391 at the much lower $0.21c rate.

          • Anita 2.2.4.1.5

            Phil (not Goff),

            I wouldn’t be surprised if being a prostitute is safer than being a nurse or police officer. I’d happily say that ACC seems to think so (although I’d probably put a rider on it saying that due to the relatively recent legalisation of the profession I imagine ACC is working on a smaller data set than for both nursing and police).

            Secondly, you’re quite right that some police are at far more risk than others; similarly some nurses are at far more risk than others. My understanding is that ACC rolls up the risk rates to look at the profession in aggregate, which is fine as the pay rates are similarly compared in aggregate.

        • rocky 2.2.4.2

          Further reinforcing your point, I’m not sure that you can say the skill level is comparable. A bachelor of nursing degree takes 3 years (and a big student loan), police college takes 19 weeks. After that, both involve a lot of further training, and the ability to specialize.

          • mickysavage 2.2.4.2.1

            Agreed Rocky.

            The perception is that the risk and skill base for Police is higher and it actually appears that it is lower.

            Apologies for the gross generalisations but …

            Being a police officer is a male sort of job, involving going out in cars into the darkness and dealing with baddies and being strong and forceful.

            Being a nurse is a female sort of job, involving being compassionate and listening and caring and supporting people in stress as well as being organised and calm under pressure.

            These are gross generalisations but I always thought that we should acknowledge our differences and strengths. And as a minimum they should be treated equally.

            The pay equity research was vital for this. If you do not want the understanding you cut the funding.

            Ignorance is bliss …

          • Psycho Milt 2.2.4.2.2

            The above comments would explain why we’re seeing women reject nursing as a career for a much cushier and better-paid job in the Police?

    • rocky 2.3

      Have updated the post, removing the words “for the same job with the same qualifications”, until I can find an accurate source on the matter.

  3. John D 3

    Another great post!

    Once again its sad that you are one of the few people joining the dots to show the sexist attitudes behind National Party policy and practice.

  4. Greg 4

    None of your reasons justify National hating women. Maybe they’re being unfair, but emotive headings like that tend to distract from substance of your point.

    Also is female inequality still a problem? (Thats a serious question) has anyone got some stats?

    • rocky 4.1

      Some stats are here.

      If someone can find some nice stats showing both differences between pay in the same job, and general differences in pay that would be great 🙂

      • Anita 4.1.1

        There are three different problems:

        1) Pay rates for women and men doing the exact same job.

        2) Progression through the same career path for men and women

        3) The structural difference in pay rates for female dominated and male dominated jobs which are similar in skills, experience, training and responsibility.

        This unusually good ideas segment on Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw has evidence of all three. For the first they talk about starting salaries of brand new graduates, for the second the disproportionately small number of female school principals, for the third the huge pay gap between school support staff and corrections officers.

        There are plenty of other examples, and lots of handy research around, but that radio segment is a damned good place to start.

        • rocky 4.1.1.1

          Thanks Anita. I was actually wondering when I asked the question if it would be you I would get a response from 😉 I’ll listen to that radio show when I get home.

          You’re absolutely right about those separate issues. It kind of warrants a post all on its own! But for now I would settle for checking the accuracy of what I put in this post!

          • Anita 4.1.1.1.1

            I’ll try to dig up the the refs to those three examples, I seem to remember the NZVCC one gave me grief last time I went looking for it tho 🙂

            I’m always willing to oblige on feminism and fact-checking, so this is my absolute favourite.

            Great post btw!

  5. spot 5

    Rocky – you’ll find plenty of stats associated with reports and programmes commissioned by the likes of the PSA (2003), MWA (earlier I think), NZ Income surveys etc.

    Unfortunately what’s harder to come by is tangible proof that their recommendations get, or got, much action.

    Having said that one could make a case for a bunch of policy under the last Govt having had some positve impact, direct or indirect (14 weeks parental, ECE policy, student loans etc etc).

    “Hate” of women seems a bit strong though, bit emotive and just clouds what you’ve rightly identified as very import issue to be tackled, as it has been for a very long time.

    • Anita 5.1

      One area that has made significant gains for structural inequality is education. The NZEI won pay parity for primary teachers (with secondary) in 1998, for kindergarten teachers in 2002, and for all ECE teachers in 2004. Pay parity isn’t enough in itself (for example the promotion and career development rates for male and female teachers are different), but it’s a huge step forward.

  6. Greg 6

    The scoop stats only show that there is a 12% difference in average pay between men and women. It is not suprising that women earn less than men on average because of the baby issue. The real question is what difference is appropriate, is 12% too high?

    Do secondary school teachers really get paid the same amount as kindergarten teachers? That seems ridiculous

    • Julie 6.1

      Why do you find that so ridiculous Greg? Secondary teachers do 20 hours a week contact with students while kindergarten teachers usually do 26, or more. They get paid on the same pay scale as their primary and secondary collegues to recognise that they have to be just as qualified and their work is just as important.

      (Although I work with kindergarten teachers, for NZEI, this is my personal opinion)

  7. Julie 7

    V interesting summary rocky, thanks!

  8. DougL 8

    You can find more information and links here:

    http://www.dol.govt.nz/services/PayAndEmploymentEquity/index.asp

    Although they have abolished the Pay & Employment Equity Unit, the webpages of the Unit are still available.

  9. great post rocky & thanx for the link! out of all those things, i think the cut in funding to the sexual abuse help-line pissed me off the most. it’s such a relatively small amount of money for a service that is vital for the well-being of women.

    the main point though is that all of these changes were made without any consultation whatsoever. it’s like women have lost their voice in this government – we get no opportunity to have any debate or discussion about the cut. there’s no room to make a submission, no time to lobby relevant ministers. the cut is announced after it has been made.

    so much for listening to the people.

  10. gingercrush 10

    I don’t get how appointing Christine Rankin disproportionately affects women. Indeed, what has NZAID, cutting overseas aid has to do with women. Also National did raise the minimum wage. The policy in terms of pregant women is a policy that was around when Labour was in power.

    Indeed, lets be honest. Labour had nine years to change the fate of women. Yet they cut Plunket. They didn’t fully fund herceptin. They still paid women less than men. Labour’s treatment of Christine Rankin was itself disgusting or do we simply dismiss that because it was Christine Rankin? So on that basis Labour too hates women.

    Of course any such thinking is absurd. Labour can’t hate women. I don’t believe they hate women. Likewise, I don’t think National hate women. They see things differently. But this idea National is on some crusade to attack and hate women is absurd. It isn’t smart thinking. It just looks silly.

    • Maynard J 10.1

      Labour cut Plunket because a tendering process favoured an alternative without such a famous ‘brand name’.

      PHARMAC did not fund Herceptin, and Labour did not throw its weight around and politically interfere. They did set up free mammograms and cervical smear testing nationwide, a Labour-style proactive focus on prevention rather than cure.

      They were actively looking into the gender pay gap – the two reviews National canned remember?

      I do not think Labour’s ‘treatment’ of Rankin was because of her gender.

      Unless you think Labour are God incarnate and can do anything, you might reflect on the fallacy of the 9-years argument. WFF, early childhood education, doctors subsidies all helped Women. Increasing the minimum wage did as well – so while there are positives you can point to, you cannot do the same for National. They have not been around for long enough for that to be a fair comparison, of course, but they are not starting out well.

      I am not a fan of the ‘hate’ rhetoric either – but dismissive, or displaying antipathy, yes they are.

  11. Greg 11

    Julie,

    I’m by no means an expert on this, but surely secondary school teachers do far more marking and preparation for class that would more than compensate for the extra 6 contact hours kindergarten teachers do?

    • Anita 11.1

      I’m far from an expert in this area, but having seen ECE, primary and secondary teachers amongst my family and friends, I don’t think the prep work is noticeably lighter for ECE.

      Yes to the marking, but more than 6 hours marking in the average week?!

    • Julie 11.2

      I’m not arguing that secondary teaching and early childhood teaching are identical, they are definitely not. In early childhood teaching for example completely different methods of assessment are used, such as learning stories tying the child’s activities in with Te Whariki (the ECE curriculum), which teachers use to build a portfolio for each child. This doesn’t happen in secondary teaching, and takes a significant amount of time, effort and skill and can really only be done when out of contact with the children. Many kindergarten teachers do these learning stories in their own time, as they do not have enough paid hours to do them in. This is but one example of some of the work below the water that may not be readily apparent to the outside eye.

      You may be pleased to know that outside of kindergarten (so the remaining 75% of the ECE sector) there is no pay parity. Personally I hope we can change that in time!

      • Anita 11.2.1

        Julie,

        Now I’m all confused 🙂 I thought there was pay parity for ECE teachers in non-kindergarten centres as long as those employers are parties to the Early Childhood Education Collective Agreement. I know some employers are not within the collective, but I thought there was parity for some non kindergarten ECE teachers. Can you please straighten my head out 🙂

        • Julie 11.2.1.1

          The ECECA of which you write covers around 200 centre=based and home-based services nationally, which is still a relatively small part of the sector. And while it is supposed to be stepping towards pay parity it is significantly behind the kindergarten agreement (which has full parity) on the base scale (probably two tranches behind, off the top of my head). It’s being re-negotiated later this year, and given the Ministry’s $20M mistake around the funding increase last year (and thus the unlikelihood of a significant increase on the new funding rates that are supposed to come in on July 1st) it will be interesting to see the outcome of those talks, specifically on the issue of salaries.

          It’s not all bad news though – the leadership scales for the ECECA are in fact ahead of their kindergarten colleagues.

  12. Noddy (used to be Dr.No) 13

    For f**ks sake! You had 9 years to sort this out if it was such a big deal for you. You seemed to find the time to work on a few trivial issues in that time. And now you blame National? Hilarious…

    • Anita 13.1

      Making progress on pay equity is a long slow process, and successive governments have made small improvements (including National led ones, see the date of the pay parity deal for primary teachers fought for by a union but accepted by a National led government).

      This National led government has decided to not only do nothing, but to stop everything that was under way and to dismantle all the structures designed to enable things to be done. Key’s government is aiming for a great leap backwards.

      (Bonus points to everyone who recognised the source of the last phrase 🙂

    • Maynard J 13.2

      See my comment above, Dr No (apt moniker, in reference to thought).

  13. SjS 14

    I haven’t read the above comments so sorry if this is already covered.

    On Sunday morning 30 June there was a really interesting discussion about pay equity on national radio (should be one their website). One of the speakers had just completed research on pay equity and had statistics showing pay inequity still exists. What I found most surprising (as a young male professional) was that in nearly all professions, women grads were paid less than their male counterparts. This really shocked me as I had assumed that gender was no issue for grads, and that this sort of stuff stopped in the 80s.

    However, in light of your updated comment in the post, it does show that pay inequality is still a huge issue in NZ, and is supported by stats.

  14. Gustavo Trellis 15

    NZ has a long way to go in terms of equality. I don’t think the title of this post helps things, but it does raise some serious issues. The PPL system needs serious attention, as does Kiwisaver and all other things that reward income and savings (which magnify that 12% gap). There is an alternative; for NZ to realise it has a serious issue with the way it views women and the value they add to the economy, and to remedy the root causes. I feel this would be harder, but ultimately for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

  15. vto 16

    And
    labour
    still
    hate
    men

  16. Chris G 17

    Lets get real here. The Nats dont give a fuck about Pansy Wong, clearly Brownlee and co. snigg.er when she speaks in the house.

  17. lukas 18

    Thanks for this post, you reminded me that I need to renew my subscription to the He Man Women Haters Club

  18. sweetd 19

    Why had the gender gap been closing since 1972 (Equal Pay Act) passed by National until 2001 and from that point it stalled?

  19. Sarah 20

    Yeah, great post if you conveniently ignore the following:

    1. That National has boosted the Ministry of Women’s Affairs budget by $2 million to take a broader, strategic approach to the gender pay gap (as opposed to the operational monitoring and evaluation that the DoL’s PEE unit was doing.)

    2. This is actually the biggest increase to its funding in its history.

    3. That the previous Labour government rejected budget bids from the MWA in two successive years.

    4. That the pay gap has stalled at 12% for the past 8 years – under Labour’s watch. (Is this what you call “progress’?)

    5. That under Labour, ACC had funded Auckland Sexual Abuse Help (board member: one Judith Tizzard) outside the provisions of the ACC legislation. (Presumably you’re in favour of the government operating outside the law?)

    6. That notwithstanding this, the current Minister of Women’s Affairs arranged to extend their funding while alternative sources are found.

    I’m not sure whether you are being disingenuous or naïve to wonder why you haven’t been “consulted’ when you made the decision well before the election to crap on National at every opportunity.

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