Sunday, 25 August 2013

Gender Diversity

Did you know that here in New Zealand, our population is made up of 51% women? This is probably not too dissimilar to many other countries. Kiwi women total less than 30% of all judges, <25% of senior academics and <20% of legal partnerships.

In addition, the NZ labour market mean gender pay gap is 14% and our median pay gap is 10% (Human Resources Commission, 2012); in other words, how much women are paid less than men for like-for-like work. Somewhere in the middle of those is the like-for-like average gender pay differential. Let's be utterly unscientific about it, and say it is 12%.

In other words, a woman in New Zealand, doing exactly the same job as a bloke in the same place, with the same skills, for the same hours, could expect to get 88% of that bloke's wage. Awesome, Kiwis. How is that fairness and equity working out for the majority of the population?

It gets worse. Apparently 22 of our government departments have gender pay gaps bigger than the labour market average, running in at around 22% (ie, women in government positions are paid 78% of a male wage). Nine of those government departments' gender pay gaps (including Treasury, the Department of Prime Minister, and our Kiwi Cabinet) are greater than 20%, and Defense is FORTY TWO percent (Human Resources Commission, 2012).


What is wrong with us here? We were the first nation in the world to give women the vote, yet we have suffered in silence with injustice happening to more than half our population, every day.

There is all this pussy-footing around with there not being enough women on boards. Yes, I appreciate that some of this is due to we women putting ourselves in glass cages; that we expect we won't get a look in, so don't see the point in repeatedly knocking ourselves out on the glass ceiling.

Enough already. I think we should follow Norway's example and put quotas for women on boards. Then when there are enough women in leadership roles for women to have some critical mass, we can get on with the business of being fair to everyone in New Zealand once more.

Com'on, Kiwis, let's put our money where our values are supposed to be.

  • Clark, Helen (2013). Yes she can: Helen Clark at TEDxAuckland. Retrieved 25 August 2013 from
  • Human Rights Commission (2012).  NZ Census of Women's Participation. Retrieved 25 August 2013 from

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