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Older white men paid double young ethnic women

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, June 28th, 2015 - 166 comments
Categories: discrimination, feminism, racism, sexism, wages - Tags: , ,

That’s not my headline. That’s Stuff’s business section’s headline.

Middle-aged white men might be sick of being cast as villains, but a report suggests they should check their privilege.

And that’s not my first sentence, that’s business reporter Richard Meadows’ first sentence.

I’m going to try to not just copy-paste the entire article – because it’s all good and it’s all quoteable – but seriously:

Young Middle Eastern and African women are at the bottom of the heap, with median pay of just $14.75 an hour, on par with the minimum wage.

At the other end of the spectrum, white men aged 45-64 command top dollar, earning a median hourly rate of $28.77.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue said it was only fair that wages should increase with time and experience.

These are the kinds of statements which normally get sneered at – when it’s Social Justice Warriors making them. There are cries of “ew, politics of envy!” and “that’s just because you all go off and have babies!” and “just upskill if you don’t want to flip burgers your whole life!!!”

Sorry, dudes: pay discrimination is a real, documented, mainstream idea.

The Human Rights Commission’s interactive Tracking Equality at Work tool is amazing, and I strongly encourage having a look – especially if you still want to pretend that we’re all living on an even playing field.

The only way to ignore these statistics and pretend they don’t matter is to openly admit that you really do believe that women, people of colour, and people with disabilities “just aren’t trying hard enough” and somehow “deserve” to be paid less, hired less, and promoted less.

Statement of the bloody obvious: of course different types of work and different levels of “skill” are always going to be paid differently in the economic system we currently have.

Other statement of the bloody obvious: but that cannot justify the widespread discrimination and disadvantage which is playing out in workers’ lives every day. It cannot justify paying women like Kristine Bartlett, with 23 years’ experience caring for elderly people in rest homes, $14.46 an hour.

If we took a serious look at the “value” produced by low-paid workers – the people feeding us, caring for us, keeping our workplaces and public spaces tidy and hygienic – we could not condone the miserable wages they are paid. We would not write off their jobs as “unskilled” or “women’s work”.

But the first step is admitting there’s a problem. And when it’s right there in black-and-white on a major news site – even listed as an “editor’s pick” on the front page – I think we’re ready, as a society, to take that step.

166 comments on “Older white men paid double young ethnic women ”

  1. Michael 1

    People need to realise that the pay gap is NOT just due to education. Even if you control for these factors, it remains! Women who are ethnic minorities are the worst affected. We need more affirmative action policies that help women and ethnic minorities find better opportunities, and to reduce discrimination in the labour market… a start would be quotas for women and ethnic minorities in public sector positions. (not sure what is currently in place..)

    • Currently in terms of gender, I believe the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has a 45%-women-on-boards goal (which it has never met). But then I’m really cynical about the focus put on women-on-boards by organisations like MWA and the National Council of Women – it’s nice, but not the magic bullet to fix the pay gap all the way through the hierarchy.

      I don’t think there’s any comparable goal or agency responsible for ensuring more ethnic diversity in organisations.

    • David 1.2

      Doesn’t introducing quotes for particular races and sexes, by definition, create discrimination in the labour market?

      • There are many types of discrimination. Quotas are one way of combatting negative discrimination and ensure that people from marginalized groups who are equally “qualified” actually get a chance.

        Yes, we can dictionary-definition this to death but the fact will remain that the important thing is the systemic disadvantage some people face because our society is sexist, racist, ableist, etc.

        • David

          What evidence do you have that ‘equally qualified’ individuals are facing discrimination that is not already covered by law? How exactly is introducing a quota that 50% of sewage workers, must be female, or 50% of teachers must be men, going to help?

          What on earth is ”ableist’? Is that not hiring someone because they are not able to do a job?

          • Stephanie Rodgers

            Besides the fact there’s still a lot of business for the Human Rights Commission dealing with cases of pay discrimination?

            And you’re on the internet. If you’re really interested in learning about new concepts like ableism, you can Google them.

            • David

              Like I said, it’s covered by existing structures. What good will introducing a quota that 50% of welders must be female do exactly?

              • Charles

                What “good”? It’ll entirely change everything inside the industry for starters – methods, schedules, equipment, times, attitudes, directions, everything. That is a form of “good”, too, unless someone equates “good” with only ever meaning “everything staying as it is forever”. The whole point of the original post is things are working great for a select few. On a progressive Labour movement site like this, you’d expect people to want to change up-to-and-including everything about our economic structure except the concept of people working in organised groups.

      • Tracey 1.2.2

        I guess white, male, older folk just work so mmuch harder than everyone else and deserve it, that’s why they get it.

  2. Colonial Rawshark 2

    And let’s remember that a third of young people don’t even have jobs.

    NZ needs a jobs guarantee which gives a full time or half time job to anyone who wants one and wants to work. Otherwise even quoting the minimum wage is misleading in of itself – its only the minimum wage if you can get employment.

    As for “privileged” older white men earning $29/hr. That’s also a pathetic low rate. Not even twice the minimum wage after decades of work experience, track record and skills accumulation. How is anyone on that “privileged” rate supposed to afford a house in Auckland or Wellington?

    Again, true privilege belongs to those people who make thousands in hand a week, from both earnt and unearned income.

    • It’s an average figure, and I’ll truly thank you to not try to derail this post away from the core issue of gender and ethnic disadvantage in employment, promotion and pay.

      If only because it’s supremely arrogant to say “hey, young women of colour, you should ignore the fact older white men are getting paid more than you due to racism and sexism! The real enemy is The One Percent!”

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1

        The real problem young people face is not being able to find employment, not that they are being paid less than still quite poorly paid white people 30 years more experienced than them.

        That is the main point I am making.

        • Well I guess young Asian women earning $14.25 an hour should just be grateful, right?

          Seriously, CV, it’s gross to dismiss systemic economic disadvantage with sneery phrases like “the real problem”. There can be lots of problems, and some of them might be more important to you than what this post is about, and that’s okay – but if you want to discuss things which aren’t the topic of this post you can do so in Open Mike.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            discussing the most severe income inequality between young people and older people seems directly relevant to this post. I’ll leave you to it.

            • Stephanie Rodgers

              To be blunt, this is just you, as per usual, saying “no shut up you can’t talk about your issue you have to talk about my issue”. You, as per usual, dictating what “the real problem” is, in a way which conveniently means derailing the conversation from topics about gender and racial discrimination.

              It’s very clear you have no desire to comment constructively so please, do “leave me to” discuss the actual content of my post.

      • Mike S 2.1.2

        “If only because it’s supremely arrogant to say “hey, young women of colour, you should ignore the fact older white men are getting paid more than you due to racism and sexism! ”

        I must be missing something here. Your statement above is ridiculous. I’d be inclined to say it’s not a fact that “older white men are getting paid more than you (young women of color) due to racism and sexism! ” It’s probably because the older men have been working for many years longer in different jobs and have worked their way up the pay scale. I’m sure plenty of white older men started on low wages? It doesn’t say anywhere at all that the young women of color are getting paid less for doing the same job.

        It’s a much higher average figure because someone who has been in the workforce 20+ years longer than an 18 yr old is probably likely to be on a much higher pay rate?

        I mean the data at the very start of the article tells us that older ‘other’ women are getting paid a lot more than young ‘other’ women. Is that gender or race discrimination? If not then why do you say it is with older white men who earn more on average.

        The whole debate is meaningless without meaningful data. That is, data surrounding the pay rates for doing exactly the same job, at the same level of experience and at the same level of competence. Then we can see exactly in which industries the discrimination is occurring and target them accordingly.

        That is an abysmally poor article by Richard Meadows. The headline brings screams ‘older white men’ to deliberately be provocative and imply overt racism, yet the data headline only says gender and race, nothing about age and the data clearly shows that not just older white men, but older everyone earns more than younger everyone on average, as you would expect and as should be.

        • Tracey

          but older white men earn more than older everyone else? Do you have proof that white men are just better than everyone else? Why is that? We need to know, cos we can get the other folks doing what they do to even it all up a bit.

    • Michael 2.2

      You know that you can talk about economic issues AND look at the elements that race and gender play, too, right? Women, ethnic minorities, LGBT individuals, and people with disabilities all face a lot of discrimination in the labour market. Even if NZ had a jobs guarantee, higher minimum wage etc, that discrimination would remain in place because it is an issue in society, not the economy.

  3. G C Cameron 3

    The wider conversation here should be Inheritance vs Income. When my parents brought their first house banks were concerned with income. If you had a reasonable job you could at the least – buy a house and have money remaining to invest or spend on the family. That was with just one bread winner.

    Now days it’s looking very 18th century. To own property you ideally need an inheritance. Let’s not forget what often separates Slaves from Slave Owners – the ability to own land!

    Older White Male vs Single White Female – Sounds like the title of a death match. I’d imagine most CEO’s and Bankers in NZ are White/European. It’s no secret that fair skinned, middle aged, white men earn the most in the West. These kinds of people are often the Politian’s and Bankers – of course they’ve looked after themselves! Beyond that they’ve benefited from a ‘leg up’ through inheritance and an educational system geared towards them.

    • Inherited wealth is a problem, but I don’t see why it has to be “vs” the issue of sexism and racism in workers’ pay. If we had 100% death taxes and women were still paid less than men for the same work, there’d still be a problem.

    • David 3.2

      “educational system geared towards them.”

      How is the education system geared to older white males exactly?

      • G C Cameron 3.2.1

        In the day’s of their youth and their parents youth it certainly was. Hence one reason why they’re earning more now.

      • Bill 3.2.2

        Western education systems are geared towards the middle classes. It elevates their values and ‘speaks’ in their language. Throw in the patriarchal element and… whatdyaknow?…white guys from a given back ground tend to get the best spring from the systems of education we have.

        That it reflects and reinforces the mores of a society that favours white maleness might be indicated by the fact that even though girls do better than boys at school, boys still come out on top because it dovetails with their post educational world better.

        • David

          “That it reflects and reinforces the mores of a society that favours white maleness might be indicated by the fact that even though girls do better than boys at school, boys still come out on top because it dovetails with their post educational world better.”

          Are you sure this is still the case? There are more women than men now in higher education and for those under 30, women earn more than men in both the UK and US.

          • Tracey


            Can you post some links to your sources in UK and US

              • Tracey

                Manners died then?

                “It’s easy to forget not just how stonkingly, grievously unfair things have been in the past, but also how tentative these female gains have been. Men who work full time still earn 9% more than women overall, hardly suggestive of being chucked on the scrapheap – any more than the existence of a measly five female cabinet ministers (outnumbered five to one by men) really spells matriarchy.

                We don’t even know yet whether this is merely a case of tortoise and hare, with young women shooting off to a confident start only to find themselves overtaken the minute they pause to have babies. After all, men’s earnings start to outstrip women’s from the age of 29 – precisely when Mrs Average now has her first child.

                It’s far from clear that this generation of golden girls can beat the so-called “motherhood penalty”, either by managing hitherto unsuspected feats of juggling or by persuading some of their lower-paid husbands to take on more at home. But at a time when hopes of future wage growth for anyone seem few and far between, perhaps we could at least stop hounding them for trying.”

    • Tracey 3.3

      “I’d imagine most CEO’s and Bankers in NZ are White/European.”

      Yes but why it is not because they are as superior as their disproportionate numbers suggest…

  4. Lanthanide 4

    “It cannot justify paying women like Kristine Bartlett, with 23 years’ experience caring for elderly people in rest homes, $14.46 an hour.”

    Would a man in the same role with the same amount of experience be paid the same amount?

    Do you have evidence that a man in the same role with the same amount of experience is being paid more?

    • You are also quite capable of Googling things, Lanthanide. The Kristine Bartlett case focuses on pay discrimination compared to similarly-skilled workers in male-dominated industries. The “evidence” is that the Employment Court found in favour of her case.

      (Edited to clarify wording)

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        Why even allow comments on your post if your answer is just going to be “google it”? I wasn’t aware of Kristine Bartlett or that googling that name would give me any information.

        Having read the linked stuff article, I can’t see anything that says that men in the same position with the same experience do actually get paid more.

        • G C Cameron

          Good observation Lanthanide

        • Because that’s not what the case is about, Lanthanide, as my comment just explained: the Kristine Bartlett case is not about comparing wages for men and women in the same job, it’s comparing men and women with similar skills in different industries, precisely *because* women-dominated industries have worse pay.

          But please, do let me know how *you* justify paying a woman with 23 years’ experience in her field barely more than the minimum wage. Kind of puts the lie to you and Psycho Milt’s nitpicking about “of course I get paid more now I’m older.”

          • Lanthanide

            I don’t justify paying anyone barely above minimum wage when they have 23 years experience in any field or industry.

            But that’s besides the point, that apparently this woman is being paid less than a man. Despite (apparently) there not actually being any evidence that that is the case.

            • te reo putake

              Lanth, the comparison is between jobs that are exclusively done by women and similar jobs that men do. Which means there doesn’t need to be any ‘proof’ that Bartlett is paid less than a man in her industry. There aren’t any men, so the investigation has to go wider than her industry and find similar external comparisons where men do feature.

              • Bill

                Well, there are men in the care industry TRP. But the point is, that as it’s an industry employing a predominately female workforce, the pay and conditions are below those of other industries that don’t have a predominantly female workforce.

                It would be interesting to note the promotions within the industry to ascertain whether the higher paid positions reflect the gender ratio of the industry as a whole. I suspect not – ie, I’d suspect men are promoted both higher and faster than women.

                • Lanthanide

                  I’d suspect internal promotions probably aren’t too different for the genders in the industry.

                  But I’d suggest that most of the management layers wouldn’t be promoted from within the industry, but would be hiring people into the industry, and by that path you’d get a preponderance of males.

                  The teaching profession, especially primary and intermediate schools, are female dominated, but would seem to have wages in line with other comparable industries that aren’t female dominated?

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    Lanthanide – I imagine you’ve picked this up by now, given the other comments, but relative pay within the sector is not the issue in this case.
                    The Court of Appeal judgement says it’s valid to compare carers’ pay with male-dominated industries possessing similar levels of skill, service and responsibility. And now it’s up to the union to find a suitable comparison to bring back to the court.
                    If you haven’t heard about this one you will in future – it’s a big deal.

    • Tracey 4.2

      I believe in Law that is exactly the case Lanth and research has been done frequently over the last 20-30 years by the Womens’ Lawyers Association.

  5. Sorry, dudes: pay discrimination is a real, documented, mainstream idea.

    Sure. But the kind of statistical illiteracy that shows up in news items like the one quoted just provide ammunition for dudes to sneer at claims about the pay gap. For example, the headline “Older white men paid double young ethnic women” is a so-what. I earn more than double what I was getting paid in my late teens/early 20s, so the news that my stat group earns twice as much on average as any kind of yoofs gets filed under “Well, duh.” There are obvious reasons why that’s the case, and they don’t have anything to do with discrimination. There’s a gap alright, but it needs better analysis than that.

    • Lanthanide 5.1


    • G C Cameron 5.2

      Excellent perspective/points Psycho Milt. I really enjoy The Standard’s commenters – you’re an informed bunch.

    • The analysis was done by the Human Rights Commission and sure, there are a lot of factors – but you’ll note that they also provide comparisons of men and women of the same age and ethnicity, and every single time there is a pay gap. Comparisons of ethnic groups controlled for age and gender – every single time there’s a pay gap.

      It’s really interesting how many people would rather just “sneer” about the quality of analysis than engage with the issue.

      • Disraeli Gladstone 5.3.1

        Here’s my thing.

        I absolutely agree there’s a pay gap. I absolutely think we need to do a whole lot more to fix it.

        But “older white men paid double young ethnic women” is a completely pointless statistic. It cheapens the argument because it is so obviously to rebut it about talking about increase wages with ages (as shown by this thread).

        Older white men paid %more than older ethnic women. That’s a concern. Younger white males paid more younger women. That’s a concern. Equally trained male paid more in the same firm than his equivalent woman co-worker. That’s a fucking concern. These are the points we need to hammer home because there’s no way to rebut those facts.

        Older white men paid double than younger ethnic women? Well, duh. Older Disraeli Gladstone got paid more than younger Disraeli Gladstone.

        Although, honestly, do we even need this study? We -know- there’s a pay gap. We now need to do something about instead of just finding a new way to quantify it.

        • weka

          We should put everyone on the same rate of pay and see what happens.

          • Lanthanide

            If I could get paid what I do now, for an easier job, I would quit my job and do that easier one instead.

            • McFlock

              a sign you should probably move careers.

            • Tracey

              you’re a long time working to be doing something for the money Lanth, unless you are saying you work hard but love it (which I don’t get from your comment).

              I could have been a partne rin a alw firm earning well over 200k per annum, but I traded that for better hours, less wankers, sense of value and purpose… much much less money

              • Lanthanide

                I work reasonably hard at my job, I’m quite good at it, it’s reasonably interesting. If I could work less while still having an interesting job and being paid the same, I would. But then I think everyone would.

                • Tracey

                  I would. I lowered my hours and got paid less. It was a compromise I wanted to make and could make.

                  Actually if lots of people stopped working the longe rhours for which they are really not remunerated, employers would have to hire more folks.

                  The stats on hourly rates, to my knowledge, don’t reflect the numbers who are paid, say $22ph but are employed to work the hours it takes to do the job for a salary which equates to $22 ph, but when the hours over 40 each week are calculated the hourly rate drops.

          • David

            Cuba has done this. Do you think doctors here are going to be thrilled getting $20/month?

            • McFlock

              depends how thrilled they are working 80 hour weeks while still paying off their fucking student loan.

              But cuba doesn’t seem to have a shortage of doctors – fuck, they provide entire medical teams off the bat if they’re needed around the globe.

              • It never ceases to puzzle me, the way some people want to pretend that everyone in a high-paying job is just in it for the money.

                There are doctors in my family, and I can guarantee you if doctors were paid a bit less they’d still be doctors – or maybe engineers or pilots or microbiologists. The whole point is they’re technical, detail-focused people who like to fix things.

                And this goes to why I put words like “value” or “unskilled” in scare-quotes. We assume that surgeons, for example, are the top of the food chain and deserve to get paid far more than the people who sterilise the operating theatre or get the patient ready for their procedure. That there is no skill and little value in all of the many jobs which support the surgeon to do their work. But without them, the whole system would come crashing down.

                • Ad

                  Surely in NZ medicine you get one of the more meritorious ranking pay systems:

                  The more years you needed to study and train to get to your position, the more you are paid.

                  1 year or so to be an orderly gets you $x
                  3-4 years for studying to be a nurse gets you $xx
                  6+ years to become General Practitioner gets you $xxxx
                  9+ years to be a specialist
                  – perhaps including PostDoc – gets you $xxxxxxxxxx

                  • weka

                    What would happen if they were paid less?

                    What would happen if the caregivers of elderly people were paid substantially more?

                    To me it looks like pay rates have evolved out of our medieval feudal history. And that’s based on the people with the most power having the most wealth.

                    • Ad

                      they would go overseas fast.
                      we are already paying less in most categories.

                    • weka

                      caregivers would go overseas?

                      Funny, last time I looked people were queueing up to come live in NZ. There are other ways to make a job attractive than just money.

                • Bill

                  How much money would a surgeon tolerate being taken from their salary before they quit? Probably quite a lot, because their job is empowering and they have a ‘love’ for what they do. Having said that, Nye Bevan said he had to “stuff their mouths with gold” when explaining how he persuaded the medical profession to back the idea of a NHS.


                  How much would a factory worker tolerate being taken from their pay? Well, the thing is they would probably quit today if they could, but they need every penny of income they can earn and so put up with the disempowering and dehumanising work they have, for reasons born of desperation and need.

                  Wonder what would happen if we paid according to the desirability of the work at hand? Surgeons could well be got for ‘ten a penny’ under such a scenario and our health care be all the better for it. Baked bean tin assembly line factory work on the other hand….

                • Tracey

                  My GP was an orthopedic surgeon. He left at the age of 35 to become a GP. His hourly charge works out at $180 but he is part of a practice, that practice is in Epsom (Auckland – higher cost suburb), all costs have to come out of that, so there is no way he is earning anything like $180 per hour.

                  He goes off twice a year to do charity doctoring in Asia and Africa. He is married with 2 children.

                  My gastro specialist charges 450 per hour. For a two-minute endoscopy (maybe 5 mins at a stretch) he charges 250.00

                  The facility charges 950 for that procedure.

                  Somewhere in that I had a point I thought fit with your comment!

            • Tracey

              My recollection, and I don’t have a link, is that in the old USSR where there was a regulated equity, women doctors well outnumbered male doctors and accordingly doctors were not worshiped in the USSR as they were at the same times in western countries.

        • David

          “. Younger white males paid more younger women. That’s a concern..”

          Are you sure this is the case?

        • Switts

          Exactly. You can’t fight a real problem with weak statistics like this.

      • Psycho Milt 5.3.2

        …they also provide comparisons of men and women of the same age and ethnicity, and every single time there is a pay gap.

        Yep, absolutely. And if the article had stuck with that and found that the HRC had controlled for differences in education/training, it would be a great piece on why the pay gap needs to be taken seriously. Instead, the journo went for the cheap shot, effectively “Old White guys earn heaps more than kids barely out of school!”, and the response to that is “Duh-uh, of course they do. What’s your point?” It’s lazy journalism and a wasted opportunity.

    • Charles 5.4

      This from the HRC tracking equality/indicators site:


      At all ages European New Zealanders are paid more per hour than people from other ethnicities. This difference is smallest between young people aged 15-24.

      Men are paid more than women both overall and within ethnic groups. These effects increase when combining several factors. There is a significant difference in median pay between New Zealand European men and Pacific women. These trends have persisted over the time period reported.”

      Pretty strong suggestion there that they aren’t comparing things that aren’t alike. They aren’t comparing high skill older NZ men with low skill younger ethnic women and coming up… oh wow look at his gap!

      • Mike S 5.4.1

        “Men are paid more than women both overall and within ethnic groups. These effects increase when combining several factors. There is a significant difference in median pay between New Zealand European men and Pacific women. These trends have persisted over the time period reported.””

        “Pretty strong suggestion there that they aren’t comparing things that aren’t alike.”

        Really?? Where does it say “There is a significant difference in median pay between New Zealand European men and Pacific women performing the same role, with the same competence and the same experience”?

    • Ergo Robertina 5.5

      It’s not statistical illiteracy; it’s an angle chosen for impact. And it drew you to the story so it did its job.
      No one story can explain a complex issue, just like your comment grossly oversimplifies the role of experience in pay rates.
      Kristine Bartlett’s pay increased by less than $5 in 23 years. This is an industry where women like her train industry newcomers who are paid only a few cents less per hour despite the experience and responsibility gap.
      How big are the commensurate rises in house prices and living costs over that 23-year period?
      I think the Bartlett case could be the catalyst for the Govt to address this problem once the case gets over a couple more legal hurdles. But due to the lack of public awareness it might get kicked down the road again.

      • Mike S 5.5.1

        I think that’s more of the industry paying shit money rather than paying her shit money simply because she’s a woman. Again, where’s the comparison with a male colleague?

        Also, in the data given, Asian women aged 25-44 earn more on average than Asian men in the same age group. So what are Asian women doing differently than women of different racial groups? Or is it simply that Asian women aged 25-44 work in higher paid industries than the Asian men of the same age? Again, the data is meaningless. You can’t regulate so that pay rates are the same across different industries because they are different.

        Quotas is a ridiculous idea. What if there simply aren’t enough women (or men) qualified or suitable enough to fulfill any particular role? Does that mean the employer would have to hire someone who is unable to do the job simply to meet their quota? Good luck trying to get that made into statute.

        I’ve worked in an absolute shitload of different industries and in different levels of seniority from the bottom to the top and have never come across any instances where a female was doing the same job but getting paid less. (Except when I owned a striptease company where the girls got paid more than the guys, probably because there is more demand for female strippers than male strippers)

        Regardless, the pay levels for those who care for our elderly are criminal. The aged care industry and a few others should be heavily regulated. Yes, it will cost taxpayers more, but I know first hand that full time caring for the elderly is a very fuckin’ hard and emotionally draining job.

        • Tracey


          “most white Americans engage, at least a few times per year, in the activities that foster inequality. While they may not deliberately discriminate against black and other non-white job seekers, they take actions that make it more likely that white people will be employed — without thinking that what they’re doing amounts to discrimination.

          The vast majority assumed everyone has the same opportunities, and they just somehow tried harder, were smarter,” DiTomaso said of those she interviewed. “Not seeing how whites help other whites as the primary way that inequality gets reproduced today is very helpful. It’s easy on the mind.”

          So white Americans tell a neighbor’s son about a job, hire a friend’s daughter, carry the resume of a friend (or, for that matter, a friend’s boyfriend’s sister) into the boss’s office, recommend an old school mate or co-worker for an unadvertised opening, or just say great things about that job applicant whom they happen to know. But since most Americans, white and black, live virtually segregated lives, and since advantages, privileges and economic progress have already accrued in favor of whites, the additional advantages that flow from this help go almost exclusively to whites, DiTomaso said.”

      • Psycho Milt 5.5.2

        It’s not statistical illiteracy; it’s an angle chosen for impact. And it drew you to the story so it did its job.

        It drew me to the story having predisposed me to consider the author ignorant and to look for further examples of that ignorance. It takes a conscious effort to recognise that effect and think past it, so journalists should avoid angles that are immediately obvious as bullshit.

        Kristine Bartlett’s pay increased by less than $5 in 23 years. This is an industry where women like her train industry newcomers who are paid only a few cents less per hour despite the experience and responsibility gap.
        How big are the commensurate rises in house prices and living costs over that 23-year period?

        What you’re describing there is the situation of the working class, not of women in particular.

        • Ergo Robertina

          ”What you’re describing there is the situation of the working class, not of women in particular.”

          Yep – so how do you propose to improve the situation of the working class then?
          This is one way into the problem. Health as a proportion of GDP is falling in NZ, so if these cases pressure the Govt to maintain its proportional health spend it’s no bad thing.
          I tried to address some of this in a reply to Red: http://thestandard.org.nz/older-white-men-paid-double-young-ethnic-women/#comment-1036156

          Your comment understates the severity of the situation in this particular industry. In most industries working class men receive substantially more than minimum wage after 23 years on the job. And that’s exactly what the case will test in its effort to secure a precedent.
          I would suggest caring is similar in responsibility levels to that of a probation officer:
          Or a private sector job, where the wage is low at the start but increases to up to $40 per hour:

          • Psycho Milt

            Yep – so how do you propose to improve the situation of the working class then?

            Vote for parties that intend to reverse the anti-union activism of previous governments and represent the interests of workers. Not sure how to do that though, given that no party currently represents labour.

            In most industries working class men receive substantially more than minimum wage after 23 years on the job. And that’s exactly what the case will test in its effort to secure a precedent.

            The days when the courts got to decide what wages were fair or not are long past – destroyed by the above-mentioned anti-union activism. Whatever the outcome of this case, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for higher wages out of it.

            • Ergo Robertina

              The case isn’t about getting the courts to decide if the wages are fair, but to determine whether they breach the Equal Pay Act.

            • Tracey

              you mean like for the home care workers getting paid for overnighters ?

        • Tracey

          what percentage of men were doing the same job as Kristine?

          • Psycho Milt

            Not like that at all. Those guys were working and not getting paid, which is within the court’s jurisdiction. Setting somebody’s hourly rate hasn’t been a matter for the courts since arbitration was scrapped 20+ years ago.

            Edit: D’oh! This was in answer to the question “you mean like for the home care workers getting paid for overnighters ?”

            • Ergo Robertina

              But the Equal Pay Act is within the court’s jurisdiction.

              • It’ll be a brave judge that claims the Equal Pay Act was meant to apply across different jobs. Maybe there is a judge that brave, but they’d be overriding the intent of the legislation.

                • Ergo Robertina

                  You believe the case has a slim chance of success – and you may be right – but you’ve said there’s no real chance of effecting change through political means as no party represents labour. This union’s had success using the courts in a couple of other instances, so why not give it a go? If nothing else it’s raised the profile of the aged care pay crisis.
                  I think you’ve misunderstood the premise – the judge wouldn’t be finding that the Equal Pay Act applied across jobs. A finding would rely on the principle that no job can be paid less simply because it is female-dominated.
                  A court hasn’t considered the substantive issue yet, and I do wonder how this case will fare once the SFWU merges with the EPMU.

    • Tracey 5.6

      I agree that the older versus younger angle is at best misleading but Stephanie wrote her own assertions too and thus triggered the debate here. We don’t just have to point out the flaws in the article and then wipe out hands, we can move beyond that, provide our own links and so on.

      For example the Human Rights Commission work.

      Stephanie put it well above

      “The analysis was done by the Human Rights Commission and sure, there are a lot of factors – but you’ll note that they also provide comparisons of men and women of the same age and ethnicity, and every single time there is a pay gap. Comparisons of ethnic groups controlled for age and gender – every single time there’s a pay gap.”

  6. Michael 6

    A good thing to explain to people who are not taking this stat very seriously is this: We need equity, not just equality.

    This is a perfect image to explain it: https://radicalscholarship.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/equity-vs-equality.jpg?w=809

    Women and ethnic minorities face disadvantages and unequal outcomes not because they are less qualified, but because they face discrimination – sexism, racism, etc.

    We need to use affirmative action policies, quotas, stronger legislation against discrimination, mandate companies to share data on the pay gap, strengthen penalties etc. We need equity in the labour market: this means we give everyone an equal playing field and equal access to opportunities. This will create more equal outcomes between men and women, etc etc.

    • Tracey 6.1

      Sadly when we have a Minister for Women’s affiars who opens speaking engagements with “I am not a feminist”, a Minister for Pacific Affiars who is silent… and so on… those who think everything is fixed now get to prevail…

  7. Lucy 7

    When I first went to work in the 70’s I was paid about 70% of what a man my age was on. In the 80’s it was about 80% then in the 90’s it went to about 60%. Then I almost got to parity mainly because I found out what a man doing the same job I was doing was paid and threatened to take the company to court. But over the last 15 years my pay has remained the same while I am sure my male coworkers amounts have increased. Part of the issue is the secrecy about pay rates – how can you know about how much you should be paid if you have no reference point.
    The reason always appears to be the breaks we take over our working life but no one my age or younger has one career path so that’s bullshit!

    • Mike S 7.1

      “But over the last 15 years my pay has remained the same”

      Really!? Have you asked for a pay rise?? Do you know what inflation has done to your income in real terms over 15 years? Seriously, you should be demanding a pay rise. Is there a particular reason you’ve stayed at the same company for 15 years when they haven’t given you a pay rise? Have you thought about maybe looking at what else is out there, even just looking to see if there might be a better company you could apply for a job with doing the same or similar role?

      “I am sure my male coworkers amounts have increased”

      How sure are you that your male coworkers amounts have increased, especially with as you say the “secrecy about pay rates? ” If you have no reference point then how do you know that they are getting more than you? Even if they are, maybe they asked for a pay rise and you didn’t? Have you tried taking to a coworker (male or female) who you trust about your situation?

      • Colonial Rawshark 7.1.1

        “But over the last 15 years my pay has remained the same”

        Minimum wage in 2000 was $7.55/hr. It is now $14.75/hr. So whatever she was earning back in 2000 was a pretty comfortable hourly rate for it to not have been touched so far.

        • Tracey

          it could be $15 per hour CR… so “comfortable” 15 years ago (really???) but not for the last few years.

  8. Coaster 8

    You wont win this argument unless you can compare apples with apples, if there is a wage difference between sexes in actual jobs it is an issue.

    But if some industries pay less, then that low pay should apply no matter what sex you are.

  9. maui 9

    I think it’s pretty clear women are overlooked for men in the higher paying jobs like management and executive roles, even though their attributes are probably far more suited to these types of jobs.

    Also in physical jobs I have thought there should be extra pay given to people who do physically exhausting work like forestry and the many low paid labouring jobs.

  10. G C Cameron 10

    Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered and Ethnic minorities are discriminated against too and often harassed to boot. I’d suggest such people often earn less than the traditional ‘European, Heterosexual Woman’. Let’s not forget these Rich White Men are married to Woman (granted that’s not the point).

    Equal pay for equal work. If this was to be a reality – Cleaners would often be earning more than CEO’s and Politicians would be earning as much as Teachers. It’s not going to happen. Saying that I know a young woman staring her own cleaning company, she currently earns approximately $30 an hour. Capitalism isn’t dead yet!

    • I have no idea why you think it’s important to comment that “these Rich White Men are married to Woman” (much less assume that all white men are heterosexual).

      And if the “European, Heterosexual Woman” comment is directed at me, I’m well aware of the fact I have a lot of comparative privilege in our society. That’s one reason I advocate for social justice for everyone, not just for my own personal benefit.

      This CEO cut his own pay by 90% to ensure all his workers in order to ensure everyone – including the 25-year-old Puerto Rican underwriter – earned $70k.

      So it’s not as far-fetched as you state.

      • G C Cameron 10.1.1

        You’re assuming I’m heterosexual. “European, Heterosexual Woman” was not aimed at you. The fact woman benefit financially from White, Middle Aged Men through marriage is of course relevant. It’s important to have a wide scope on an issue.

        I never said Equal Pay for Equal Work was far-fetched. That’s you putting words it my mouth. I said it wasn’t going to happen. I’m focused on people improving there standard of living and opportunities. Some people take risks which pay off – in a capitalistic society you get rewarded – this especially should be the case when risking your own money.

        I’m well aware of your above example. Are all the stuff earning $70k AND ALSO working an equal amount? Are some earning more that 70k? – your argument is falling apart – a thinly veiled stab at the ‘corporate boardroom’ at best.

        • te reo putake

          “I never said Equal Pay for Equal Work was far-fetched. That’s you putting words it my mouth. I said it wasn’t going to happen.”

          Unintended Laugh ‘o’ the Day! Think about it GCC, think about it …

      • Lanthanide 10.1.2

        “if the “European, Heterosexual Woman” comment is directed at me”

        I find your hyper-sensitivity really annoying, Stephanie. I’m sure you have oodles of past experience that drives you to react to statements like this, but it does get quite tiresome seeing you take many statements as attacks on you when by and large they probably aren’t (as G C has already stated, this wasn’t). I’m also saying this from the observation where many of the other authors/commenters who I know to be female on TS are far less likely to react to these sorts of statements in the way that you do.

        But I’m sure this is just another “tone argument” or something. I’m a hopeless male, what do I know?

        [Telling authors what to do or what not to do is not a good idea, Lanthanide. Your comment did not need to be made and is not relevant to the post. No repetition, please. TRP]

        • Lanthanide

          Just a note, I don’t think the fact that Stephanie is an author has anything to do with my particular criticism (indeed, I was replying to a comment she made, not her original article). I’d give that criticism to anyone who made those kind of comments. I understand Lynn’s protectiveness over authors and it does make sense, but at the same time the ‘sacred cow’ attitude can get in the way.

          [Thanks for taking the time to have a think about this Lanthanide. You write:

          “(indeed, I was replying to a comment she made, not her original article).”

          But last night you also wrote ” … but it does get quite tiresome seeing you take many statements as attacks on you”.

          That’s you taking a pop at more than just that one comment, so it’s not focussed on the specific at all. It was a general criticism and is not acceptable. You might also want to re-read your last sentence and see if you can spot the Freudian slip. Clue, it’s between the words “the” and “attitude”. If I thought that was deliberate, you’d be taking some time off. TRP]

        • “Hyper-sensitivity” is a nicely loaded term, Lanthanide.

          The simple fact is that G C Cameron’s comment made no sense to me and I was unsure whether or not that part of the comment was directly addressed at me. Hence I used the word “if” to express uncertainty.

          Your comment is so bog-standardly sexist – “you’re just an emotional unreasonable woman so stop taking things personally” – that it’s actually funny. But it’s still an attack on an author and you’ve been fairly warned for it.

          You’ve also been here long enough to know that not just I, but many of the moderators here, take a dim view of people trying to play semantic games about whether you were attacking me, or my comment.

          • Lanthanide

            Yes Stephanie, you did use “if” and I probably should have paid more attention to that, duly noted.

            “Your comment is so bog-standardly sexist – “you’re just an emotional unreasonable woman so stop taking things personally” – that it’s actually funny. But it’s still an attack on an author and you’ve been fairly warned for it.”

            Yes, I know it appears as sexist, I did note ‘compared to other commenters I know to be women’. But I guess the point there is it is unreasonable to expect all people that belong to any particular group to act or communicate in particular ways, and it may be that other female commenters on the standard react in different ways, but that in no way should dictate the ‘proper’ way to respond to things and it was unfair of me to even raise that comparison.

            Anyway, I’ve learnt something from this exchange (to be more tolerant of others who are just being themselves) and I hope I did not cause any (or too much) offense.

            • Tracey


              You and I don’t always (often?) agree. I am grateful for your contributions here which attempt to steer a calm line through what can be, at times from ALL sides of the ideological spectrum, a bit OTT.

              Your ability to reflect after the event is also something I admire.

              Now, back to the rankor 😉

              • Lanthanide


                IMO I would say we often agree, but not always.

                Of all of the regular commenters here, you’re on my short list for whom when I’m scrolling down a thread, I’ll stop to read your comments, since you also take a calm and considered approach.

    • Rich White men are married to ‘Woman?’ What the fuck? It’s not a name, and it has a plural.

  11. Hateatea 11

    There is so much I want to say about the issues raised by this post but unfortunately I need sleep! The morning seems to come early these days.

    One of the sentences from President Obama’s eulogy to Clementa Pickney alludes to one of the issues in pay equity:

    ‘Obama touched on racism, saying “the subtle impulse” still exists “to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal.’

    Source: The Huffington Post

    Only those who have never had to worry about, racism, misogyny and ageism can shrug off the systemic inequities in pay, promotion and other rewards that many women and minorities experience still in our country but the ‘I’m all right Jack’ comments are unhelpful.

    I am always delighted that some receive adequate compensation for their effort but this site spends quite a lot of energy on discussing the bad behaviour in employment relations of the Talley Group but they are far from the only offenders. We need to take the plight of those in the care industries seriously. One day WE may need their skills and I would be very sad if they weren’t significantly better remunerated than they are at the moment.

  12. Sable 12

    $28-29 dollar an hour isn’t exactly fat of the land wages either. Strikes me New Zealand is shafting all of its workforce, not just women/minorities. Time real wages rose for everyone. Fat chance of that with National or Labour in office….

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.1


    • Coffee Connoisseur 12.2

      Real wages aren’t going to rise again ever. This is because of downward pressure on wages from immigration and the levels of automation that we are now reaching in society after 30 years of it. This is why things like the Auckland housing market are such a concern. The next generation won’t be able to afford to live here.

  13. Wayne 13

    In the legal profession, and perhaps other professions, the peak earning years seem to be 40 to 55. After that a definite tail-off of income potential as people are expected to move on to make way for new talent.

    Admittedly this is on a rather slender sample of the top law firms. Most lawyers, probably at least 90%, never get into this group, but those who do are typically the most influential in the profession.

    For the last 25 years there have been more women law graduates than men. So the first of this group is now aged between 45 and 50. The top firms certainly have more women partners than they used to have, but it is not half. There are, however, many more women judges appointed than even 10 years ago.

    The pool of legal talent at this level is large enough (a few hundred) to be statistically significant, so it makes a nice case of “women in power.”

    Many of the directors in public companies come from this group of women. And interestingly there are many more directors in public companies than there are CEO’s in the top 50. Not hard, given the number of women CEO’s at this level is precisely zero.

    Now I appreciate that some of you will say that this is merely Wayne’s concern about the 1%, since every person that fits into these groups absolutely is in the top 1% of income earners, and typically with the commensurate societal influence.

    But since this is an issue of gender power allocation, the gender make up of top law firms, accounting firms and the top management in New Zealand’s largest firms does matter.

    And as I am sure many of you know, they are by no means uniformly National supporters. No doubt a little more than 47% that National got in the election, but I would be surprised if it went above 60%.

    • G C Cameron 13.1

      Very well articulated Wayne. Could you speak to the traditional rolls of men and woman in light of your above post please?

      Because, taking (maybe skewing) your logic one could say – “there are not enough woman in the construction industry”. This is traditionally a man’s job. Most woman don’t want to become a construction worker. If a woman wants to work in construction that is of course her choice. Though generally men are physically stronger than woman so arguably labouring jobs are more suited to men.

      CEO’s in the past have traditionally been men. I’m not suggesting woman don’t want to be CEO’s – I’m pointing out it’s traditionally been a man’s job – most CEO’s being men does not prove woman are being discriminated against. Rather as you pointed out we’re seeing more females moving into Key positions as they open up.

      • Tracey 13.1.1

        G C Cameron

        I graduated from Auckland University in 1989. Women made up 50% of law graduates at that time, possibly 52% (and it has been that way ever since). How do you account for the lack of that number reflected in Judge appointments and Partnerships? Women don’t want to be judges or partners rather than an overt (or more likely covert) discrimination?

        That’s 26 years. Just have to keep waiting until we get more women who want those types of appointments I guess GC Cameron, or until the impact of Women, Maori and Pasifika in those jobs, their “proof” of their capability, their influence on their colleagues that women, Maori and Pasifika can actually make good judges and partners and their lack of discrimination against women, Maori or Pasifika evens things out?

    • Tracey 13.2

      What percentage of partners in law firms in NZ are women, Maori or Pasikika Wayne?

      What is the total number of judges across District/High/Appeal and Supreme Courts and how many of them are


      Genuine question Wayne, how is the Chief Justice appointed and do appointees to the Courts go through a process run by Chief Justice of each Court or is their Parliament involvement in any of them?

  14. RedLogix 14

    An interesting discussion with many complex facets. There are many ways to look at this.

    One is that there is no doubt women on average earn significantly less over a lifetime than men.

    Equally however in most workplaces where there are men and women working alongside each other doing identical jobs – rarely is their a significant difference in their pay rates.

    It has also been argued that if women were indeed so much cheaper to employ than men – then why would any employer hire men? Well in fact this can be argued is what has happened already. Women now dominate many trades and professions like teaching and retail – that were once totally male dominated. And in the process incomes in these areas have notably declined.

    My partner who has a substantial background in retail, has noted that back in the early 90’s she used to pay a branch manager about $45k pa, and yet now 20 years later this is still what they are being paid. While at the same time most of these roles are now occupied by women.

    Also it is still true that males dominate occupations that are dirty, risky or demand 80 hr plus weeks. In my current role I’ve just come off six weeks of 80-90hr weeks away from home. The person I was reporting to was a young ‘ethnic’ woman (highly capable and responsible) earning more than me. Yet here is the rub – when she has family she definitely does not want to be working these hours in these locations. That will be the job of her partner.

    Overwhelmingly women still prefer that their male partner should earn more than they do. Overwhelmingly when the male of the household either loses their job, business or is disabled – it places the stability of the family at risk. How often do you hear the phrase ‘lost his job and family’? Given this preference, is it surprising that men will strive to earn as much as they can? Or that most men will work their entire adult lives (if they can) while it’s entirely normal and unremarkable for a woman not to.

    It’s not helpful in this discussion to ignore the fact that women make different choices around work, family and income than men do, and that this reflects in their overall earnings. And I’d suggest most women would want to strongly defend their ability to make these choices.

    • G C Cameron 14.1

      So True – Excellent Post, Thank You.

    • Kiwiri 14.2

      Hmm, those comments are certainly very thoughtful. Thanks.

    • Ergo Robertina 14.3

      It’s not helpful to the discussion to assume all women have partners; that jobs like caring aren’t risk-prone and dirty; and that women take all that much time off when they have children.
      ‘Different choices’ made by individuals aren’t the issue; it’s the choices taken by society that determine structural inequalities.

      • G C Cameron 14.3.1

        Oh yup – that was a great post by RedLogix – just admit it Ergo Robertina 🙂

      • RedLogix 14.3.2


        Absolutely it would be wrong to assume ALL women will make these choices. And I’m aware that for the sake of brevity I’m also being totally hetro-normative.

        But I would argue that what really matters to most people is their household income and the hours worked to achieve it. In that respect the past 30 -40 years has seen real household incomes for most people stagnate or go backwards – while the hours worked to achieve it has increased. We’ve gone from one income (plus maybe a smaller part-time or casual income) being sufficient – to now a household needs multiple (often insecure) incomes.

        All over the developed world wages and salaries have been decreasing as a fraction of GDP – as the financiers and capitalists gain more. From this perspective it is households, comprising BOTH genders, who are being cheated.

        On top of this the the demands of the capitalism to force workers to work where-ever necessary has seen families broken up and moved all over the world. Single and couple only households now out-number those with children. A majority of people will experience a family break-up in their lifetime. All this impacts women especially.

        I’m not arguing that there is not an issue here. But that the roots of it lie a lot deeper than simple slogans about equal pay.

        • Ergo Robertina

          in respect of ‘choices’ that wasn’t the point I was making about individual versus societal choices, but never mind.
          I think the Kristine Bartlett case is useful for considering an aspect of this issue, and I’m quite surprised by its lack of general prominence. You could argue its premise is wrongheaded because the chosen male comparison occupation is likely to receive around the average hourly wage, a rate reflecting labour’s declining slice of the economic pie and the low wage economy. So the argument could be we’re essentially fighting each other for a bigger share rather than tackling the system.
          But the reason the Service and Food Workers Union took the case is that wrangling more from the current bargaining environment has become too difficult and hostile.
          That’s why the union’s gone to the courts to challenge equity aspects, of which the Bartlett case is just one.
          Using this route, the union secured hourly rates for overnight carers (rather than a one-off payment), and travel time payments for carers (they used to receive nothing for travelling between jobs).
          Yes it’s pragmatic; no it won’t solve the underlying economic inequalities, but it has a deeper significance than ”simple slogans” in respect of fairness and dignity.
          And it’s ‘affects women’, not ‘impacts women’, thank you.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 14.3.3

        …the choices taken by society that determine structural inequalities.

        It’s a pity this point is being ignored. Social mores have profound effects on individual outcomes.

      • Psycho Milt 14.3.4

        It’s not helpful to the discussion to assume all women have partners;

        When it comes to issues that involve statistical differences, none of it assumes “all” of any group does anything. All it takes is for a significant proportion of a group to do something for it to have a statistical impact.

        ‘Different choices’ made by individuals aren’t the issue;

        Not the only issue, maybe. For statistical differences, large numbers of individuals making the same ‘different choice’ is often exactly what’s being measured.

    • It’s also not helpful in this discussion to ignore the fact that women often don’t have a lot of saying in “making different choices”. Education, socialisation, access to healthcare and family planning – all of these things have an impact.

      Handwaving this away as “women make different choices which impact their earnings” is pretty much equivalent to the rightwing “poor people make different choices which impact their ability to feed their children”. It’s blaming the individuals whose lives are impacted by systemic issues outside their control for their situation.

      • vto 14.4.1

        “It’s blaming the individuals whose lives are impacted by systemic issues outside their control for their situation.”

        That’s funny as that is the point I was making below when it comes to pointing the finger at the “white middle class male”.

        • Tracey

          “For an angry but vocal minority, that is a change too far, yet more proof that they are the underdogs now, trampled beneath the stilettoes of supposedly over-mighty women. The conservative family policy expert Jill Kirby even suggested that “the pay gap we should be worrying about is the one that shows young men falling behind”, not the one that still sees men earning more than women for every other decade of their working life.

          Losing ground is admittedly never easy, even if that ground wasn’t always earned, as one glance at the Tory backbenches, boiling with resentment at young women being promoted over older male heads, confirms. The trouble with shattering the glass ceiling is that someone inevitably ends up ducking the flying fragments.
          But it’s worth remembering that, barely a century ago, the great male fear was not of alpha females with intimidatingly large salaries but their polar opposite: women were seen, rather like immigrant labour now, as dangerously liable to undercut men’s wages by doing the same work for less. Equal pay was sold not as a threat but, rather intriguingly, as a promise.

          As the then mayor of New York put it in 1911, explaining his decision to grant 14,000 female teachers the same salaries as men: “Instead of lessening the number of male teachers this will increase it” by removing the financial incentive to hire women. Even in 1946, the Royal Commission on Equal Pay set up in Britain argued that equality would mean women losing their jobs, since “at equal pay for men and women, a man will always be preferred”. Why on earth would you hire a woman, unless she was going cheap?”


      • Coffee Connoisseur 14.4.2

        Stephanie I have read a lot of your posts on this sort of topic and womans rights but have never commented. You hit the nail on the head here with this one.

        It’s blaming the individuals whose lives are impacted by systemic issues outside their control for their situation.

        In each of the articles I have read that you’ve written I have each time come to the conclusion that the issue could be addressed by fixing the systemic issues that exist within our system. The problem is that doesn’t mean tinkering with policy and sticking with the existing system.

        When one steps back and considers what is truly important to an individuals life in society and how work relates to that. It is not so much money that is important. It is time. The time that work takes you away from doing the things with your life that you would rather be doing. In fact it shouldn’t matter whether you are a doctor, a lawyer or a cleaner. It shouldn’t matter whether you are black, white, male or female.

        Once we begin to understand this then we can begin to make real meaningful change to the System. The sort of change that enables people to work less as people understand that it is time that is truly important and not money.

        Unless of course your goal in life is to be the richest man/woman in the cemetary.

      • RedLogix 14.4.3

        It’s also not helpful in this discussion to ignore the fact that women often don’t have a lot of saying in “making different choices”.

        No more or less choice than the average male has in being expected to earn the bulk of the household income over time.

        I would argue that what matters to most people is household income, along with security, stability and a sane balance between family and work life. And of course all those things you list, education, family planning, access to healthcare etc – feed into this for both genders.

        Still if you want to argue that women should have what modest choice they do enjoy around family, work and incomes replaced with the same expectation on men to work every damn day God gave them … knock yourself out.

        • vto


        • Tracey

          household income is a great notion, until the incomes divorce… then see what happens to standard of living etc… The lack of equity is magnified.

          I think you overlook some covert or subliminal factors at work her RedL. Most of what I consider to be “discrimination” in the workforce is not being done out of malice of conscious discrimination… it is more subtle and unknown to the employer himself.

      • Tracey 14.4.4


        Redlogix, above makes a number of assumptions but supposes them to be facts

    • Tracey 14.5

      “Overwhelmingly women still prefer that their male partner should earn more than they do. ”

      Interesting suggestion. I wonder if this is different across different demographics. Anyway would love to read more about this, can you post some links to where you found this?

  15. Drowsy M. Kram 15

    “Overwhelmingly women still prefer that their male partner should earn more than they do.”

    Interesting opinion. Presumably this income differential is also the overwhelming preference of male partners.

    But is “prefer” the right word? Is there research that explains the origin of this ‘preference’? For example: (i) money and ambition not being the be-all and end-all of human existence, (ii) a majority of males still being uncomfortable with their (female) partners ‘bringing home the bacon’, or other psychosocial factors underlying traditional gender roles. There are any number of seemingly plausible explanations.

    And IF this is indeed the genuine, freely held ‘preference’ of an overwhelming number of females in heterosexual relationships, then might there be some merit in initiatives that gradually change this possibly out-dated preference? Would our society collapse?

    “Single and couple only households now out-number those with children.” Agree; how to afford children and/or home-ownership?

  16. Charles 16

    Reply to some of the points raised in #15 above (reply button has disappeared again)…

    Perhaps it is the self-selecting group of people I’ve met (thought it wasn’t entirely purposeful and happened in places we wouldn’t expect to support such people’s choices) but I would say roughly 50% of the couples I know, the woman earns more than the man. Some are married, some are in long-term arrangements, some are casual. The higher income of the woman makes no difference to how they treat each other – they still fight and squabble, plan their lives to certain methods etc. Now I don’t want to support the whole “women have the answer to patriarchy problems!” line, because it’s too extreme and unbalanced; it doesn’t allow for personal variation and preference that should be in relationships, but it certainly seemed to me that although the women in question earned more, they did not use that fact like a “traditional man” would i.e. “I’m the main income earner, you’ll do as I say!”. To try and pin down “the female perspective” would just invite stereotype, but clearly these women were seeing their World entirely differently to how our culture says they should. And society and the World hasn’t ended has it? It’s the old “If a tree falls in the forest…” riddle: Despite no one else in mainstream politics knowing about the people I knew, their histories, income and relationship style, the World has continued along without collapsing – perhaps in a new direction. There may be battles to fight, but the war is already quietly won.

    • Tracey 16.1

      what age group do they fall within Charles?

      for example, my parents’ generation (80yrs old now) NEVER spoke about what they earned, so no one knew.

      I don’t tell people what I earn unless they ask and I know the context for them wanting to know? I am almost 50.

  17. vto 17

    It is surely correct that pay rates are all up the buhai in our lands…. they don’t reflect anything other than the structures, norms, regulations, taxes, lack of taxes, history and previous cultures of our lands…..

    They need fixing for sure…

    How did they get like this and who is responsible for the current situation? You will need to ask the men and women who have voted in the various governments over the last 100-plus years….

    How will they get remedied? You will have to ask the men and women who are going to vote in the next governments. It is realistically only governments that can make meaningful change in amending the structures, regulations, taxes, lack of taxes, and thereby the norms and history to be made, which govern and determine wealth distribution in our lands …

    As for the hapless white middle class male… fuck that. The white upper class male has more to answer for. And the white lower class male I don’t see anywhere much doing anything about it. The subject of the article is good but the target “middle” is just a mindless knee-jerk.. Oh and don’t forget the hordes of white females who have supported the status quo over the decades. But they are forgotten aren’t they. Blame the white middle class female.

    But yeah – get the white middle class male, tha fuckers …… even though they have no more responsibility for it than anyone else. Just get them eh – yucky middle-aged, greying, sagging men – fucking bleeaargh..

    I am very proud of my largely “white” ethnicity and the achievements of my male ancestors and contemporaries today. We contribute above our weight in society.

  18. Sabine 18

    29 – 30 Dollar in this country is excellent pay. I am sorry, but i have lived and worked in NZ now for 20 odd years and I never…..NEVER ever was paid more then 25$ (yes i have a degree, i speak a few languages and blahablahblhbal).

    Men should understand that telling us women that our plight is not enough of a plight because some men are underpaid with 29$ is in itself insulting, when we and most of us are never ever gonna make even that pay that men consider so lowly.

    If you consider 29 $ an hour miserly, what do you consider 14.75$ an hour for someone who might be looking after the alzheimers patient that is your father or mother, or gasp even oneself in time to come.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 18.1

      Have you ever asked for more than $25.00 per hour…?

      • Brillo 18.1.1

        So you’re ignoring the valid points she makes in order to imply that low wages are all her fault for not asking for more?

        Sheesh. Some men.

        • Coffee Connoisseur

          Nope. You aren’t going to get paid more unless you ask for it. The question was to see if she had indeed asked for it ever. If not why not.

          In our society, we constantly put up ideals for women that are unattainable much of it through media and marketing. The glorification of models that have had their images photoshopped to create an illusion that is then sold as reality would be the most common example.

          The reason for the question was that I know two very beautiful women, both of whom have a value of their own worth far below what it should be. I have over the years kicked both of their arses multiple times to get them to either go for roles that they don’t believe that they are good enough for or to ask for pay rates far in excess of what they themselves believe they should be getting paid. When they have gone for the roles or asked for the pay rates I have told them too they have ended up getting them. Finally, some 10 years later each of them is finally beginning to understand how good they actually are and how much they are actually worth.

          I have often wondered how many other woman are like this. I do see this as an outcome of the society that we live in. I also realise that to fix a problem properly you first need to identify and understand the root cause of the problem.

          So actually ‘sheesh some woman’ would be a better statement if I am correct on the root cause of the problem that is, but then I only have two anecdotal examples. The reason for my question was to see whether the same might have been true for Sabine too.

          I’d also suggest you look for my comment further down that discusses $$$ vs hours. Society needs to shift its thinking around what is actually important when it comes to work.

          But then perhaps my mistake was in doing what most men do in trying to actually fix the problem rather than just listening and giving them a shoulder to cry on. I should have been more considerate and realised that as the article was written by a woman she was probably just wanting empathy and understanding and not wanting to have the problem fixed for her.

          Us men are just so insensitive.

          • Brillo

            It’s called victim blaming. And yes, you were.

          • DoublePlusGood

            Thanks for the mansplaining that women just need to ask for much higher wages, without considering the impact that such requests would have on how they are perceived in their work, and other pernicious sexism.
            It was really needed, cheers.

            • Coffee Connoisseur

              often the solutions to problems are more simple than what people think.
              however both of you stellar intellectuals missed the point.

              The point and I have seperated it out just to make it really easy for you. If this was the case with Sabine as it was with the two women that I know then it would suggest that there is strong anecdotal evidence that would suggest it is at least in part down to how women perceive their own value in society,
              That raises the question of how we treat women in society, how we objectify them and constantly bombard them with unnattainable images in media, marketing, magazines, television, movies etc.etc.

              but then I suspect that based on both of your comments your more about having a winge a cry and a moan with a little male bashing thrown in to boot.
              rather than fixing the actual problems. Because unfortunately fixing them requires you to put your big girl pants on.

              Now at this point consider that both of your comments added zero to the debate in solving the actual problem. And at this point I’m out, I’m done, fix it yourself.

              Next time I’d suggest you ask more questions and clarify any concerns you have about a comment rather than making assumptions.

              The guy you just lost, thats me (not that it will matter to you of course) has 20 years of fixing systemic problems in both the public and private sector. In that time you learn to look for patterns and to ask questions, lots of them.

              That guy that you lost, (again) thats me owns his own company. The last 3 people in the top job were women in this order.
              1. Maori woman age 40
              2. European woman aged 50
              3. European woman aged 28 (lesbian)

              we have about a 50/50 representation of males vs females as far as staff go.
              When you get into the staff management roles 4 women 3 men. of those women 3 are lesbian.

              Pity though I probably could have helped quite a bit on this one. But then what would I know about women and womens problems. I am just a white male whose fault all this is in the first place. sheesh!

              • Tracey

                “That raises the question of how we treat women in society, how we objectify them and constantly bombard them with unnattainable images in media, marketing, magazines, television, movies etc.etc.”

                How big is your company coffee? As far as I know, no one is saying that no employers recruit/support as you do. BUT clearly a large number don’t.

                I know a number of small employers who have a mix of employees.

                I also know of some with small numbers and almost entirely white/male boards that consistently “let” males in their 30’s “get away” with bad performance while being much quicker to performance manage the female counter parts.

            • Coffee Connoisseur

              ignoring your emotional BS and reading between the lines a little your comment may have something for you to pursue.

              The best time to ask for a higher pay rate is when starting a new role.
              In both of the cases I refferred to pushing them to ask for higher pay rates was when starting a new role. it raises the question of are women more likely to stay in a role for longer versus their male counterparts?
              As an example Judy and John start in the same role in different companies at the same time on the same rate of pay for arguments sake.
              Over the course of a ten year career Judy has moved companies once and increased her pay once in doing so,
              John has moved companies 4 times and has essentially had 4 pay rises.
              Judy is now on 60K
              John is on 80K
              Same level of experience.
              Both apply for two open positions at a new company.
              Both are successful.
              The company asks each what they want to be paid to take the role.
              Judy who currently believes she is worth more than what she is on asks for 70K and the company is happy with this rate and hires her.
              John is currently on 80K and asks for 90k. The company accepts.

              Same job same experience different amounts.

              I’m not saying that is it but IF it is or that is at least part of why it happens then you need to understand why before you can fix it. If you don’t chances are you won’t fix the problem properly and will probably end up creating other ones.

              There are far bigger problems to solve than this one. In case you hadn’t noticed we have people sleeping in cars in this country because they can’t afford a home. All of this BS and we still don’t actually know if she has ever asked for more than $25 per hour but then you girls have already decided on an emotional level that this could never be part of the problem.

              Its quite a stunning example really when you look at it. It really show the difference between men and women when it comes to problems.

              Woman: Waaaah I don’t get paid as much as the guy next to me, Its not fair, I only get $25 per hour, he’s probably on $40 Waaah. Its because his boss is a white male too, its just so not fair waah.

              Man: Have you asked for a pay rise?

              Woman: you insensitive big idiot thats not the point your such a jerk waaah.

              Yep thats what we men have to deal with. You wonder why we don’t talk as much as women? Thats why?
              In fact I’m pretty sure that’s the real reason man invented the shed.

              Oh last and not least My wife is on wayyyyyy more than me and she’s on more than any other male in her work doing the same job. But then she is the greatest woman in world, and she asked for it.


              Now I’m out.

              • Tracey

                “but then you girls have already decided on an emotional level that this could never be part of the problem.”

                C’mon coffee, “we girls” “emotional level”?!? you kind of contradicted yourself there, and from other stuff I read it ill behooves you ( I like being ale to use ill behooves, havent done it for a while)

                • Coffee Connoisseur

                  You are right, it does ill behoove me. But boy was it fun to write 🙂

              • DoublePlusGood

                Awesome, more stereotypes to try and justify systematic pay discrimination. Most of this discrimination comes in jobs that pay under $20 an hour. Not the 70 – 90k bracket.

                Also, you could cut out the misogynistic comments about emotional levels and big girls panties, they really undermine your argument.

  19. vto 19

    How does this one fit into the post subject? ….

    If a woman shares in the earnings of a man over a lifetime, does that get counted into these scenarios? Or does the female partners sharing in that not get counted in the subject subject?

    example – woman raises the kids, earns nowt with a part-time minimum wage job, but shares in the substantial earnings of man partner over a lifetime. Is this taken into account or not?

    just curious

    • Tracey 19.1

      unpaid work is not included in the statistics or data or much else. Marilyn Waring did great work on including unpaid work in GDP and other economic calculations when with the OECD. Some countries have taken it on… it’s taken nearly 30 years. here is NZ though, we largely ignored her great work.

      As an side how does she earn nowt with apart-time minimum wage job?

      “earns nowt with a part-time minimum wage job,”

  20. infused 20

    Not sure why you are not discussing the same industries or something a little more focused. Average figures don’t exactly do your case justice.

    If we take IT as an example and drill down the stats for that, it would help your case far better.

    I also haven’t looked, but does this take in to account the whole pregnancy issue? Keen to see how that is accounted for.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      …the whole pregnancy issue.

      Yeah, the way society forces the costs of creating citizens onto women is completely fucked, eh.

      • Lanthanide 20.1.1

        ‘Cause when a male has a wife and children, he spends all of his wages on himself, and forces the wife and kids to eat bread and water and live in a shack out the back?

        • DoublePlusGood

          In child support cases? Not generally so extreme, but yeah, this happens all the time.

      • infused 20.1.2

        regardless of your views, still need the data.

    • Tracey 20.2

      “Average figures don’t exactly do your case justice.”

      This government relies heavily on averages to boost themselves… particularly with regard to wages.

  21. Tracey 21

    “Finding a successful employee is not an exact science, but it’s one of the key arts of management. Hiring the wrong person is an expensive mistake. And, yes, many of the candidates who apply for the elite jobs have had superior educations and worked really hard; that’s what gets them into the room. So what’s the secret sauce? As Rivera puts it in the study, “Employers sought candidates who were not only competent but also culturally similar to themselves.”


    So, what is the demographic of HR recruiters? White? Male? Female? Maori?

    • Coffee Connoisseur 21.1

      I tell my staff, never forget that you do business with people so hire people you can see yourself working with first and foremost. So yes that would fit in pretty well with
      “Employers sought candidates who were not only competent but also culturally similar to themselves.”

      • Tracey 21.1.1

        And some of this preference is not being made in a consciously racist or discriminatory way. Studies show that employers will “justify” why they have more white people than non white or more men than women but the studies build in a test of that bias and find it is there

      • DoublePlusGood 21.1.2

        Even more important for any business that deals with the public is that you do business with your customers. If your employees are all similar to you, how likely is it that they are going to represent your customer base?

    • Tracey 21.2

      This is a study from 1987
      (am trying to find a more recent one I rad but can’t get the search terms right it seems)

      It shows that minorities and women are more likely to hire minorities and women than white managers are to hire women and non white men/women

    • Charles 21.3

      “Employers sought candidates who were not only competent but also culturally similar to themselves.”

      Works right across the board unfortunately… or maybe fortunately… for some vague attempt at… balance? SA’s hire SA’s, Filipino’s Filipino’s, Fijian Indians etc etc. Such homogenisation causes the same problem wherever it is or whoever allows it, though. After the male/female thing, whities tend to hire to old gender roles, then white culture, then any culture that compliments and supports their style of power. Some if it’s the “invisible influence of culture”, some of it is a conscious decision, but surely, after a certain age, a person wouldn’t not see it and adjust for it? ha yeah right.

      “I tell my staff, never forget that you do business with people so hire people you can see yourself working with first and foremost.”

      The last time I was in a position to influence the hiring process, it was in sales. I cannot think of any idea more contradictory to sales than the above. I would now “tell my staff” to first hire the people they would do business with, not who they want to work with. Sales relies on selling to anyone who will pay. What good is an homogenised closed private club when your clients can potentially be anyone? Basic logic I would’ve thought. How on earth do you sell your product out of a recession by restricting your market share? But what do I know. Clearly shrinking and unifying your labour market in a multicultural global market is all about innovation and profit. pfft. As an old farmer once said, “We’re here to make money, not friends…”

      • Tracey 21.3.1

        actually not so as such Charles. i am struggling to find the study which showed that

        white men hired white men by the highest percentage by far
        black men hired more black men but hired more women and other minorities than white men
        women hired more women than the other two groups but also had better percentages of those not in their “group” than the other 2 categories.

        It is my totally unprovable belief that Obama got in because to many white male americans even a black guy was better than a woman (Clinton)!

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