21 Oct 2021

MindTheGap: Campaign promotes wage gap, especially for Māori and Pasifika

6:27 pm on 21 October 2021

A wāhine Māori business leader has welcomed a campaign highlighting pay inequities borne by Māori, Pasifika, and the disabled community.

New Zealand currency held fanned out in someones hand

file image. Photo: 123RF

The year-long MindTheGap campaign is asking workers to fill out a registry with details of their pay rates ahead of the 50th of the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.

Professional director and Māori advisor Traci Houpapa said the campaign would highlight differences between men and women.

Māori and Pasifika women in particular experienced an almost 200 to 300 percent increase in pay disparity, she said.

"MindTheGap seeks to address and eliminate the gender pay gap for women in Aotearoa and that includes Māori women and Pasifika women who unfortunately experience an almost 200-300 percent increase on the gap.

"Pay transparency is critical to this program of work and will help shine a light on the pay differences, disparities and inequalities between our men and our women."

There have been underlying issues related to ensuring both men and women are receiving equal pay, equal working conditions alongside addressing workplace culture.

It was hoped the MindTheGap campaign would encourage create change with pay gaps being recognised and addressed.

Houpapa saw the campaign as an opportunity to support a balance between pay rate and working conditions for wāhine.

Typically, Māori and Pasifika women had not discussed money and equal pay arrangements with their employers, she said.

"Some of the feedback that I've received has been that our wāhine have just been pleased to get a job and to receive pay, some of our wāhine don't want to 'rock the boat' or felt intimidated or unable to approach their managers or employers for pay increases or to inquire about equal pay rates"

"So, it's really important to understand those drivers of the gender pay gap within businesses"

Organisations with 50 employees or more will be able to sign up to the MindTheGap register and in doing so indicate if they were reporting on internal pay gaps.

MindTheGap spokesperson Dellwyn Stuart said the campaign helped promote equality and diversity within businesses.

"Pay gap reporting is a mark of diversity, fairness, and trust. The Public Pay Gap Registry is an equality index to measure our fairness as a nation," Stuart said.

"Pay discrimination impacts on the nation's well-being: the aspirations of Māori, of Pasifika; marginalisation of other ethnic groups and child poverty.

"Both New Zealand's consumers and talent pool are more discerning than ever, and will be looking towards the registry to recognize which businesses to work with and spend their money in."

Houpapa said it was essential that employers did their part and make sure wāhine especially were receiving equal pay.

That would look after women and give them the ability to gain more independence, especially for those who were the sole or main income earner of their household, she said.

"Employers must do the right thing, employers simply should be paying men and women the same pay rate for equal work and equal pay.

"Pay transparency is a leveller for Māori and Pasifika women and all women in New Zealand"