Protest for pay equity

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 pm, June 22nd, 2009 - 47 comments
Categories: activism, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

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Earlier this year the National/ACT government announced it would be closing the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit, which was set up by the previous government to address the 12% pay gap experienced by women workers.

The excuse given by State Services Minister Tony Ryall was that ending discrimination and paying women what they’re worth might cost too much money.

The Council of Trade Unions and a broad coalition of community, employer, union, and academic groups don’t think this is good enough, and are organising a series of activities on June 30 calling on the Government to reinstate the Unit and start taking pay equity seriously.

In Wellington there’ll be a small lunchtime protest on Parliament grounds:

When: 12:30, Tuesday 30 June
Where: Parliament.

If you work in the CBD make sure you round up your workmates at lunchtime on Tuesday and head down to show your support.

UPDATE: You can join the Facebook group here.

[Hat tip: No Right Turn.]

47 comments on “Protest for pay equity”

  1. Redbaiter 1

    The pay gap is not down to any kind of disadvantage to women.

    There is not any social construct holding women back.

    The difference in average pay rates is down to choices and trade offs in work and lifestyle.

    Men’s trade-offs include working more hours (women work more at home); taking more hazardous, dirtier, and outdoor jobs (garbage collecting; construction; trucking); relocating and traveling; and training for more technical jobs with less people contact (e.g. engineering).

    Women’s choices balance income with a desire for fulfillment, safety, flexibility, 35-hour weeks and proximity to home. These lifestyle advantages lead to more people competing for those jobs and thus lower pay.

    • felix 1.1

      Garbage collecting?

      I can see you’ve never worked in the industry, biter. It’s not one known for it’s high rates of pay.

    • kim 1.2

      Guess we don’t need the pay equity unit then. Dispense with all those ivory tower elitist academics with their so-called “research” and “evidence”. Let’s just hire redbaiter instead, he seems to have all the answers.

      • Redbaiter 1.2.1

        “Dispense with all those ivory tower elitist academics with their so-called “research’ and “evidence’.”

        Oh wow, Kim.

        Here’s one of just that kind of academic, (PhD) and guess what?

        He agrees with me-

        • Lew 1.2.1.1

          Never mind the thousands of others who don’t – they’re just communists.

          Just like when it comes to climate change.

          And when it comes to poverty.

          And when it comes to regulation.

          And when it comes to justice.

          And when it comes to the mass media.

          And when it comes to democracy.

          Yeah – that Redbaiter epistemology again: academics who agree with Redbaiter are fine, the rest are communists.

          L

        • Ari 1.2.1.2

          Oh look, it’s Warren “Discredited” Farrel being brought up as evidence. I’ve read plenty from him, and he’s gone completely off-track without anything to back him up.

          All the evidence shows that even taking into account pay per hour and across equal conditions and among people with similar dedication to their jobs, women are still paid less even when they’re more qualified than men in the same position.

          Even his points about high-paying male-dominated industries are stupid: Being a secretary used to be a high-paid position when men did it, but now the field is dominated by women pay has gone down severely.

          • Redbaiter 1.2.1.2.1

            Oh sure- All that has to happen for Farrel’s work to be discredited is for some pro-feminist to say it is unreliable.

            Its all you guys ever do. Shoot the messenger if he brings you news that challenges your world view.

            In fact there are hundreds of other sources of the same information. Shooting Farrel will not get you anywhere.

            Here’s a few-

            According to economist June O’Neill, a major reason women make less than men is that they often choose college majors in lower-paying “humanities’ fields, such as education, journalism, English and social work, while men are more attracted to high-paying fields like business and engineering.

            As economist Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, put it, “Women make decisions all the time based on things other than salary – enjoyment of the job and ability to have time with their families.”

            Even liberal groups such as the American Association of University Women (AAUW), who support efforts to counter the wage gap, admit that over three quarters of the wage gap is explained by factors other than discrimination.

            According to a study by economics professor Linda C. Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University, reported recently in the Washington Post, women may not actually ask for as much money as men. And their reticence costs them in both starting pay and in earning higher raises.

            Babcock and her colleagues observed how men and women reacted when told they would be paid according to a sliding scale. Men were eight times more likely to ask for higher compensation than they were initially offered to participate in a simple experiment.

            In one early study, Babcock brought 74 volunteers into a laboratory to play a word game called Boggle. The volunteers were told they would be paid anywhere from $3 to $10 for their time.

            After playing the game, each student was given $3 and asked if the sum was okay. Eight times more men than women asked for more money.

            Babcock then ran the experiment a different way. She told a new set of 153 volunteers that they would be paid $3 to $10 but explicitly added that the sum was negotiable.

            Many more now asked for more money, but the gender gap remained substantial: 58 percent of the women, but 83 percent of the men, asked for more.

            The claim that there is a social construct that keeps women’s wages low is just more religionist nonsense.

          • Ari 1.2.1.2.2

            Actually, I bought into Farrel when I read him, I was just turned around by much more comprehensive facts afterwards.

            According to economist June O’Neill, a major reason women make less than men is that they often choose college majors in lower-paying “humanities’ fields, such as education, journalism, English and social work, while men are more attracted to high-paying fields like business and engineering.

            The issue with this view is that even when women “colonise” high-paying professions, the pay gap moves with them- I mentioned this earlier, for example secretaries used to be extremely well-paid when it was a profession dominated by men.

            As economist Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, put it, “Women make decisions all the time based on things other than salary enjoyment of the job and ability to have time with their families.’

            Right, but they’re still paid less than men who make those same decisions. This doesn’t explain away the whole issue.

            Even liberal groups such as the American Association of University Women (AAUW), who support efforts to counter the wage gap, admit that over three quarters of the wage gap is explained by factors other than discrimination.

            Something being explained, even partially, doesn’t make it right. For instance, I think we should all be able to have the work flexibility and praental leave that is necessary for some women to even get into the workforce seriously. Saying that this explains away some pay inequality is like saying having a nail in your hand explains the bleeding- that’s not the point, there’s a bloody nail in your hand. 😉

            According to a study by economics professor Linda C. Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University, reported recently in the Washington Post, women may not actually ask for as much money as men. And their reticence costs them in both starting pay and in earning higher raises.

            Babcock and her colleagues observed how men and women reacted when told they would be paid according to a sliding scale. Men were eight times more likely to ask for higher compensation than they were initially offered to participate in a simple experiment.

            And it’s certainly impossible that this has anything to do with the fact that they’ve been operating off a payscale 12% lower than men’s for how many years? 😉

            In one early study, Babcock brought 74 volunteers into a laboratory to play a word game called Boggle. The volunteers were told they would be paid anywhere from $3 to $10 for their time.

            After playing the game, each student was given $3 and asked if the sum was okay. Eight times more men than women asked for more money.

            Babcock then ran the experiment a different way. She told a new set of 153 volunteers that they would be paid $3 to $10 but explicitly added that the sum was negotiable.

            Many more now asked for more money, but the gender gap remained substantial: 58 percent of the women, but 83 percent of the men, asked for more.

            The claim that there is a social construct that keeps women’s wages low is just more religionist nonsense.

            I don’t think the social constructs are the only thing at play here, but I think it’s ridiculous and plainly untrue with a little critical thought that they don’t play into income inequality at all.

    • Lew 1.3

      Redbaiter, I’m disappointed you’re not running your line from the other thread, viz. that women would be paid more if they weren’t such whining bitches.

      L

  2. vto 2

    So are all the stats etc that support the contention that women are paid less adjusted for factors such as job, age and experience, ability, etc? i.e. is a male nurse with the same experience, qualifications, ability, and position within the heirachy paid more than a female nurse? Similarly say female and male partners in a law firm (with same client base, experience, ability, etc)?

    Or are those stats raw and unadjusted? And hence useless…

    • wtl 2.1

      Isn’t that what the (now scapped) research unit is supposed to do? Come up with the stats (among other things)?

    • indiana 2.2

      Also, the CEA’s that I have read certainly do not have a clause to pay differently on gender either.

    • Anita 2.3

      Yes, there are statistical sets which show that with matched quals, experience etc etc women earn, on average, less than men.

      On another thread about this topic I pointed to a radio programme which talked about a recent survey of recent graduates which found exactly that.

      • Anita 2.3.1

        I don’t have time to look for the recent stats right now, but here’s an article with 2005-2006 ones:

        The NZ Vice Chancellors Committee reported that the average male graduate’s salary working full time is $50,388 and average female graduate’s salary working full time is $42,112 an $8,000 difference. There is a gender pay gap in every university subject area on graduation, for example a female commerce student can expect to earn only 75.5% of what a male commerce student does on graduation $43,588 compared to $57,740.

        • Redbaiter 2.3.1.1

          Mr. Farrell has some interesting stats in his book (see ref above)

          For example-

          Women are 15 times as likely as men to become top executives in major corporations before the age of 40.

          Never-married, college-educated males who work full time make only 85 percent of what comparable women earn.

          Female pay exceeds male pay in more than 80 different fields, 39 of them large fields that offer good jobs, like financial analyst, engineering manager, sales engineer, statistician, surveying and mapping technicians, agricultural and food scientists, and aerospace engineers.

          A female investment banker’s starting salary is 116 percent of a male’s.

          Part-time female workers make $1.10 for every $1 earned by part-time males.

          Surprisingly, Farrell argues that comparable males and females have been earning similar salaries for decades, though the press has yet to notice.

          As long ago as the early 1980s, he writes, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that companies paid men and women equal money when their titles and responsibilities were the same.

          In 1969, data from the American Council on Education showed that female professors who had never been married and had never published earned 145 percent of their male counterparts.

          Even during the 1950s, Farrell says, the gender pay gap for all never-married workers was less than 2 percent while never-married white women between 45 and 54 earned 106 percent of what their white male counterparts made.

          But its different in NZ right Anita??

          • Anita 2.3.1.1.1

            I’m curious now, and might try to track the book down, but just looking at your first point

            Women are 15 times as likely as men to become top executives in major corporations before the age of 40.

            This is clearly bogus ? there are not 15 times as many females executives in major corporations who are under 40 as there are male equivalents. I have to assume that the sample is somehow narrower than your statement suggests. In fact, most of those examples look like hand-picked data.

            Anyhow, I shall have a look for the book as the stats might not be as bogus as you’ve made them look.

          • Ari 2.3.1.1.2

            Anita- He means that 15 of 16 execs under forty are women, not that 15 of 16 execs are women in total. Most likely “execs under forty” is a small minority of total executive positions. Basically, that companies that select in favour of men tend to choose older, while companies that select in favour of women tend to choose younger. This probably isn’t about women getting into jobs faster so much as companies who are willing to consider female candidates seriously also being willing to consider younger candidates. (And probably candidates of minority races and other sexualities, too, I’d imagine.)

            I don’t really think this actually makes any point about pay equity one way or the other.

          • Anita 2.3.1.1.3

            Ari,

            Yeah I’d got that it was 15 of 16 of the under 40 year old execs (which is pretty serious cherry picking of stats). But it’s not true in NZ anyhow, and I’d seriously welcome any other stats that show it in other countries.

  3. George D 3

    C’mon you guys, what are you protesting about? These are “different times”, Paula Bennett said so. So different that pay equity has to go out the window.

    • Anita 3.1

      Do you think she wants me to get pregnant before or after I start cooking meat-and-three-veg dinners for my man?

      • Tigger 3.1.1

        After. It goes dinner then pregnant then the ironing. And she wants you to stop asking questions – it’s very unladylike. 🙂

        • Maynard J 3.1.1.1

          Apparently this will all be covered tonight on 60 Minutes.

          • Anita 3.1.1.1.1

            Do I watch 60 minutes while ironing? Or during my pregnancy inducing exercises?

            Dammit, I’m asking questions again, my man clearly needs to teach me manners.

          • Merlin 3.1.1.1.2

            ‘pregnancy inducing exercises’

            the mind boggles.

          • Maynard J 3.1.1.1.3

            Anita, don’t worry, you will be told in due course. If in doubt, a copy of the 1952 Good Housekeeping Guide will no doubt be invaluable. (actually thinking about that makes me happy that we are at least having this debate…kind of like Iran making you appreciate what we have to complain about here.)

            Merlin – think The Big Lebowski. More of a stretch than an exercise but, er, on the right track.

      • Redbaiter 3.1.2

        Anita, when you finally get around to having children, just make sure you educate them in the Muslim religion, because thanks to the low birth rate of the Europeans of Christian heritage and the high birth rate of the Muslims, there will not be any other demographic option for them.

        If you do have a daughter, make sure she knows she will need to walk five steps behind her husband in public.

        • Merlin 3.1.2.1

          I’m confused. First Redbaiter is telling women to get back in the kitchen and shut up. Then he’s saying they will have to walk five steps behind their husbands in a tone that suggests he thinks that’s a bad thing.

          In a same comment he manages to attack a woman for (he assumes) not having had children and then decries an imagined anti-feminist future

          • lprent 3.1.2.1.1

            Seems to have some consistency issues. Doesn’t seem like line the redbaiter of norm. Perhaps ms red has been giving him a soft time recently and he is confused by the lack of stimulation.

  4. sonic 4

    Why not give us the URL of whatever American crank right-winger’s opinion piece you are quoting ratbiter?

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/articles/050321/21john.htm

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      Stop oppressing him with your bourgeois leftist proto c0mmunist filth sonic. So called ‘plagiarism’ is just a Gramscian tactic for the silencing of the unoriginal. Intellectual property is theft.

  5. vto 5

    Vive la difference!

    (I suppose we should ask the frogs if thats meant to mean the good the bad and the ugly)

  6. So Bored 6

    All I would like is for real wages to reflect the social value of the work done rather the ability to position yourself to demand high pay. Take the example of mainly female staff of old peoples homes, paid stuff all. When those of you who used to be a merchant bankers and a right wing bloggers etc are sitting in a pile of your own excrement awaiting a change of pants it may occur to you what real social usefulness is.

    • vto 6.1

      Good luck with that Mr & Mrs Bored. Money don’t follow social norms, money follows other tracks. I dont think anyone would expect that pay rates reflect “social usefulness”. There are many other measures of usefulnes in the world.

  7. So Bored 7

    “There are many other measures of usefulnes in the world”. Indeed, and a huge number of them are championed by people who want to justify the unjustifiable. Which is why I champion the example of those wonderful ladies at the old peoples home as being worthy of the highest pay of all.

    Would you VTO get up to sluice down an incontinent geriatric at two in the morning and not reflect upon why you dont get paid the same as a merchant banker? I suspect you will have some spurious reason like “divine right for VTOs profession” to justify why you are worth more.

    • Rex Widerstrom 7.1

      …sluice down an incontinent geriatric … you dont get paid the same as a merchant banker?

      Being one of the few people to have actually read The Winebox documents, I can attest that the end result of dealing with incontinent geriatrics and merchant bankers is that you’re left feeling much the same in either case.

      • Anita 7.1.1

        Ah-ha! You can answer one of my (never ending) list of questions: what does a merchant banker actually do?

      • So Bored 7.1.2

        Rex, now that really is a proper and fair argument to justify your value, must have been hell..hehehe

        • vto 7.1.2.1

          Well in reality Bored, I have cared for a severely autistic teen with bowel control problems of a similar such scale, as well as having an immediate family member currently occupying the most faraway town of Dementia, as well as having been a founding member of one of NZs investment banking firms.

          Your rant has very limited foundation. Pay rates are some of the last reasons people choose their place in this place.

          Perhaps it is you who should get out more.

          (p.s. Kevin they dont steal railways, dumb arse people in govt set up dumb arse rules – look there for the reason)

          (p.p.s. Rex comes the closest to describing the reality)

  8. mike 8

    But Labour had 9 years to close the pay gap – how did they fail so badly and why aren’t you taking them to task on this?

    They formed “the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit” wow that sounds very impressive – what a patronising bunch of muppets they were.

  9. Mach2 9

    Yet another mess labours 9 year social experiment have left us

    But Labour had 9 years to close the pay gap

    If ‘talk-back tory’ is the best you can do Mike then roll on 2011.

    • mike 9.1

      So no argument regarding labours pathetic record on this then???

      At least defend your fallen hero’s a little bit eh…

      • Maynard J 9.1.1

        The best you can do is call a unit of the DoL muppets. What exactly needs defending here?

        And defend our fallen hero’s what? I am not sure my fallen hero’s got “a little bit”.

  10. C.V. Compton Shaw 10

    The Orwellian, Machiavellian, and authoritarian political and cultural forces that are apparent in the USA are, apparently in force in New Zealand as well. Through out history, the basis for demands for preferential treatment for one group and the political, economic, and social oppression of another group have been based upon specious sophistries and terminological inexactitudes. The demands for preferential treatment by feminism are no different.
    In the USA, as I remember it, women control and spend over 80% of disposable income.
    As I remember it, women, in the USA, also, own about 80% of the wealth. The unemployment rate for American women is substantially lower than that of American men. The relative higher unemployment rate for men in comparison to women is dramatically understated, in my opinion. Whole professions have been taken over by women (education, nursing, paralegal, office jobs) while traditionally male jobs are now becoming predominantly female (law, medicine).
    Given the aforementioned, the feminist arguments claiming both discrimination in employment wages based upon gender and general employment discrimination based upon gender are not only without foundation but clearly point to massive and institutionalized discrimination against men both in employment and in employment wages.
    I am not a citizen of New Zealand but of the USA.
    I traveled to New Zealand on vacation on one occasion and enjoyed myself tremendously there.

    • Zetetic 10.1

      um. Thanks for that. Tell all your friends about The Standard, New Zealand’s number 1 news source.

      • infused 10.1.1

        Hate to break it to you, this isn’t a news source. Your posts are more along the lines of celb trash talk.

  11. RAS 11

    Easy to fix. Don’t charge women GST.

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