2 Sep 2018

Legislation needed to bridge gender pay gap, say GM

1:51 pm on 2 September 2018

A leading businesswoman is warning New Zealand will not achieve pay equity for another 26 years.

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Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Government statistics show it has taken New Zealand 20 years to drop the gender pay gap from 16 percent in 1998 to just over 9 percent in 2018.

The General Manager of GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals, Anna Stove, said at that rate pay equity would not be achieved until at least 2044.

"We need to pick up the momentum...we need to look at the introduction of gender based targets and, potentially, regulation to enforce them."

Ms Stove said New Zealand was leagues behind the United Kingdom and Australia when it came to fair pay.

"I think we're behind everyone at the moment...although New Zealand got the women's vote 125 years ago and we led the charge, I think because we haven't brought in any other sort of legislation, the momentum's just not really happened.

"If you look at most developed countries in Europe and even Australia, they're in a much much stronger position."

Ms Stove said that was most likely due to the "systemic and complex" problems surrounding societal views towards women.

"So I just think because we still have this gender pay gap and because legislation hasn't been bought in and businesses aren't reporting on this situation, and it's just that we are undervaluing women in New Zealand."

She said that in order to quickly reduce the gap, more women needed to be supported into leadership roles by their employers.

Ms Stove also called on the government to introduce legislation which would mandate the minimum levels of women on boards.

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