As of yesterday, women in New Zealand are essentially working for free for the remainder of the year, TVNZ reports.
The average New Zealand man earns 13.1% more than the average New Zealand woman – which means that female workers are effectively working unpaid for the rest of 2017.
Reducing the gender pay gap is a key focus of the new Labour-led government, which calls it “the legacy of historic discrimination.” Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter said the inequality must end. “Once you account for age, experience, education, all of those factors, there’s still an unexplained gender pay gap,” she told TVNZ.
“About 80% of that, it’s hard to determine exactly what causes it, but unconscious, conscious bias – it’s something we can overcome, but we have to recognise it exists and have explicit measures and policies in place to end it.”
The gender pay gap has only decreased by 3% in the last two decades, which Genter puts down to the National Party’s attitude. “I think the reason it hasn’t come down as much is because there hasn’t been a real ambitious plan to close the gap in the last nine years,” she said. “The new government is very committed to this… We’re going to close the gap in the core public sector, but we’re also going to be working closely with the private sector in championing those businesses who are taking the steps to close the gap.”
New pay equity legislation will be put before Parliament in 2018, Genter said.