Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff said today that the National Party was not fooling any women with the return of its intentionally flawed Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill through the members bill ballot process. “I have to say, I’m impressed by their persistence trying to throw hurdles in front of women’s pay, but we all know this bill was killed off for very good reason” he said.
“The new coalition Government has already reconvened the Joint Working Group on equal pay and is getting the equal pay principles agreed by unions and business into law. This is a stark difference from the last Government, who tried with this bill to erase the mechanisms that Kristine Bartlett and unions used to achieve the equal pay settlement for care and support staff.”
“Now the National Party is trying to bring their deceptive bill back from the dead to put the handbrake on women accessing equal pay. I’m confident that voters can see whose interests the National Party is serving- and it’s not hard working New Zealand women. We’re forging ahead to get the agreed equal pay principles into law this year and putting money into women’s pockets.”
The Council of Trade Unions is working together with business and politicians across Government to get the agreed equal pay principles into the Equal Pay Act within the next 264 days.
For more information contact:
Richard Wagstaff | CTU President, ph: +64 (0)27 277 8131
Jenn Lawless | Communications and Campaigns Advisor, CTU
CBA president Len Andersen said the revelations confirmed anecdotal accounts of bullying and harassment experienced by young lawyers and it is now seeking to understand the extent to which this occurs, with a view to remedial action being put in place.
“CBA is absolutely committed to ensuring lawyers can carry out their professional obligations without being subject to harassment or bullying behaviour,” he said.
The association was also concerned at the number of young lawyers – particularly female – who leave the profession within the first 10 years of practice.
“The first step of understanding the problem is a survey which is being sent to all CBA members to be completed by practitioners working in the criminal law,” Andersen said.
“The results of the survey will determine what future action is required and the results will be published on the CBA website.”
It is understood the allegations at Russell McVeagh involved students in the firm’s summer law-clerk programme.
Newsroom.co.nz reported that two incidents happened at Christmas functions and another at the El Horno Bar in Wellington. At least one complaint was made to police about a man’s behaviour at El Horno.
McDiarmid said the law firm immediately conducted a full internal investigation at the time and initiated a formal process.
“Those who were the subject of the allegations left the firm following the investigation,” he said.
Victoria University vice chancellor Grant Guilford said it had supported the young women and was focused on ensuring a safe environment for future students in the workplace.
“We have worked closely with Russell McVeagh and other firms to ensure that young women or any young person is well-protected,” he said.
Guilford said workplace harassment was a major issue for New Zealand society.
“It is quite difficult for a young woman in this situation to consider undertaking a complaint with the police and going through the court system. It’s as little as 3 per cent of our sexual assault cases actually do end up going through the police and into the courts.
“I think if anything that comes of this of any good, it’s that we face up to these things in our workplaces and make sure there’s a zero tolerance of it across the country.”
In July last year, the BBC was forced to reveal the salaries of all employees earning more than £150,000 a year.
Ms Gracie said she was dismayed to discover the BBC’s two male international editors earned “at least 50% more” than its two female counterparts.
US editor Jon Sopel earned £200,000-£249,999, it was revealed, while Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned £150,000-£199,999.
Ms Gracie was not on the list, meaning her salary was less than £150,000.
A letter calling for equal pay – published in the Telegraph – was later signed by both Ms Gracie and BBC Europe editor, Katya Adler.
In her open letter, Ms Gracie said: “The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women doing equal work must receive equal pay.
“But last July I learned that in the previous financial year, the two men earned at least 50% more than the two women.
“Despite the BBC’s public insistence that my appointment demonstrated its commitment to gender equality, and despite my own insistence that equality was a condition of taking up the post, my managers had yet again judged that women’s work was worth much less than men’s.”
Ms Gracie said she asked for the four international editors to be paid equally.
“Instead the BBC offered me a big pay rise which remained far short of equality,” she added.
“I believe I am very well paid already – especially as someone working for a publicly funded organisation.
“I simply want the BBC to abide by the law and value men and women equally.”
She said “patience and good will are running out” among female staff.
BBC media editor Amol Rajan said Ms Gracie’s resignation was a “big, big headache” for the corporation.
Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said it was “no surprise” that Ms Gracie was not prepared to stay silent about the “scourge of unequal pay” at the BBC.
“[The letter] makes it clear what a difficult decision it has been to speak out about what she calls a crisis of trust at the BBC, but why it is vital that the British public are clear about why she has been forced to resign her post.”
On Twitter, many people, including BBC journalists, have expressed support for Ms Gracie using the hashtag #IStandWithCarrie, echoing the #BBCWomen hashtag that was prominent last summer.
‘Don’t take the women and children out of the home – put the man in a safe place instead’, is the philosophy of Gandhi Nivas – a family violence facility in Otahuhu. The first centre has been so successful in a second will open early next year.
Gandhi Nivas, groundbreaking second safe house for men. Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle
Gandhi Nivas came about after a series of tragic homicides within the Indian community in 2014.
Fifty-five percent of protection order breaches were being committed by men from South Asian backgrounds and of the 14 women killed in domestic violence cases that year, four were Indian. A solution was needed and the response was innovative, effective and simple.
“Don’t take the women and children out of the home – put the man in a safe place instead”, says community leader Ranjna Patel.
Gandhi Nivas is the brainchild of Ranjna Patel, who is now the Chair of its board.
“In the two and a half years we’ve been going, up to 640 families have used this service. It’s a proven project now.”
Counseling the men, Sucharita Varma (left) and Zoya Kara at Gandhi Nivas. Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle
What started as a South Asian/Indian community response to the tragic statistics of 2014 has quickly turned into a far-reaching programme for all men in South Auckland.
“Very quickly it was a community problem, not an ‘Indian community’ problem,” says Ranjna. “We’ve had 30 ethnicities come through the house.”
The inaugural safe house was established in Otahuhu, Counties Manukau where the initiative began.
Police do the referring, men are offered accommodation and wrap-around 24/7 services including counselling.
The four simple and homely rooms at Gandhi Nivas can house up to twelve men but it’s no motel.
The counselling is mandatory. If you don’t take part, then you go into lock-up at the police station instead. Bars across windows and main entrances are a reminder that although the interior is comfortable, this is a secure facility.
The men have been described as broken when they come to Gandhi Nivas.
“They are scared,” says Sucharita Varma from Sahaayta Counselling. “Many of our men have experienced violence in their own lives – intergenerational.”
Often from new migrant communities, these men may have faced stigma and the pressures of unemployment.
Sucharita says it’s about the men learning to believe in themselves again.
“They’re uncomfortable when they come in. It’s about relationship building with the men. Earning their trust and working with their families, actually, to keep them safe, and grow from this experience to see that they don’t end up [where] they have, going forward.
“It’s a transformation for them,” says Karthik Nandikoor, another Sahaayta Counsellor on board since the beginning. “We see lots of changes when they come in here and go out of this place.”
Oma Ali is Somalian. He has a diploma in counselling and is a former refugee with a deep understanding of how men may end up needing Gandhi Nivas.
“I have a passion for helping people. I also wanted to see for myself how I could support these men. This is the best way I could do it.”
Oma has been counselling men at Gandhi Nivas for the last three years as a volunteer. Since Gandhi Nivas secured much-needed partnership funding from ACC, he can finally be paid.
“Men do find peace here, time to reflect. It gives them perspective.”
Empathy is crucial, Gandhi Nivas counselors Karthik Nandikoor and Oma Ali. Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle
Many former clients have poured out their feelings to Gandhi Nivas in letters of gratitude. They believe the help they have received here has saved their families and helped rebuild their lives.
“I was referred to Gandhi Nivas by New Zealand Police due to family violence” reads one letter. “Once I arrived I was welcomed not just by the counsellor, but by the other men here…” (22 year old Indian)
“My counsellor helped me a lot, to keep me calm and relaxed” reads another. “The counsellor took group sessions with me and other people for stress and anxiety. I was happy to that I was able to spend days at Gandhi Nivas.”
“The staff were very understanding and helpful,” says a third. “My first night here was very hard to be away from home but as the days went by I realised how much time I had to look back and identify the areas that needed to be worked on. I’ve had time to make peace within myself”
Safe space for men after Police Safety Orders (PSO) are issued. Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle
The families aren’t forgotten. The 24/7 wrap-around service includes assessing the women and children and providing full family counselling with follow-ups if they are referred to other agencies. Ranjna is clear that no-one in the family should fall through the gaps after a family violence incident.
“Another set of counsellors will go to the woman, to make sure that this isn’t one-off incident. It may be ongoing but this is the first time she’s had courage to ring the police.”
Gandhi Nivas has sparked a positive trend of reduced offending in South Auckland and now a second safe house will be opened in early 2018, to meet demand elsewhere.
“Geographically we are looking at the wider Tāmaki Makaurau.Waitemata has the highest next lot of P.S.O.’s (Police Safety Orders) that are issued,” explains Ranjna, “but also recognising we do have a lot of pockets like Glenn Innes in Auckland, that are very high needs.”
The second Gandhi Nivas safe house will be built in the reconverted Te Atatu Police Station and plans to open in early February 2018.
Gandhi Nivas team and Ranjna Patel (second left) Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle
She was a single mum trying to get a job. After being turned down for a receptionist’s position, she called up the company’s manager for some feedback, hoping it might help her in the future. His explanation for not giving her the role left her distraught.
“He said, ‘It’s because you’re a young mother and I think you’ll be away too much with your child being sick or something,’” she recalls. “I felt completely devalued and deflated.”
Fast-forward a few years, and once again the same woman is being picked on because of her gender. Online trolls have attacked everything from her appearance to her family.
“There has been a bit of a run of it, and I don’t see anything like that for my male colleagues,” she admits. “I’ve tried so hard to say it’s not gender biased, but I’ve got to say at the moment it feels like it is.”
This is not just any woman – though these may be familiar scenarios for many. These are the experiences of our deputy prime minister.
Paula Bennett is well acquainted with gender discrimination, and a combination of her personal experiences, as well as her work as Minister for Women, meant she was in no way surprised when she heard the results of the latest NEXT Report.
Our survey of more than 1000 women nationwide revealed almost a quarter has been discriminated against at work because of their gender; with 44 per cent of those victims millennials. Equally unsettling is the fact 79 per cent of Kiwi women don’t believe they are offered the same opportunities at work as men.
“I definitely think it’s something to be concerned about,” says Bennett, who this year released research that showed 80 per cent of the gender pay gap is due to employers’ unconscious bias against females. “I think the way women have answered this survey is really valid, and it’s something employers should take on board,” Bennett adds.
There’s no doubt we are all very aware of gender issues. A massive 92 per cent of the women NEXT surveyed agreed equality between men and women is important – but with that conviction comes disillusion.
Only 3 per cent believe equality is a complete reality, a statistic that doesn’t compare favourably with the one in 10 who thought it was a full reality when we conducted the quadrennial survey back in 2008 – indicating that New Zealand is actually going backwards.
Annabel Cooper, associate professor in sociology, gender and social work at the University of Otago, believes views on equality tend to ebb and flow – often dictated by high-profile news events.
“So what we’re seeing at the moment is a resurgence of attention to gender issues, and a consciousness that more things are at play than people had realised,” Cooper explains.
“Things like the Roast Busters incident [the alleged gang rape of intoxicated, underage girls] was shocking, but it gave rise to a lot of discussion around really quite profound inequality amongst that age group.”
For all that perception plays a part, quantifiable data suggests the view New Zealand is losing ground in the gender stakes is valid.
Equal employment opportunities commissioner Dr Jackie Blue has noticed a marked increase in the number of formal complaints made to the Human Rights Commission about employment discrimination based on gender in this country.
“In the year to June 2017 there were 92 people who complained, compared to 72 the previous year,” she says, adding the relatively small numbers reflect the fact that involving the commission is just one of several options for victims. “It is concerning.”
While the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap Report ranks New Zealand ninth out of 144 countries, it shows we have tumbled in the gender parity stakes over the past decade.
Since 2006 we might have only dropped from seventh to ninth overall, but we have experienced significant drops in every sub-category. For example, we have slipped 10 places in economic participation and opportunity, and plummeted 35 positions in health and survival – and are now ranked at 104 out of 144.
The 2017 pay equity statistics don’t paint a prettier picture.
The mum penalty
The gender pay gap in New Zealand is sitting at 12 per cent, which a Human Rights Commission project has equated to men earning $262 more per full-time working week than women. That translates into a whopping $600,000 over a 45-year career.
And for working mothers the outlook is even bleaker. Statistics New Zealand data released in February shows there is a clear ‘motherhood penalty’, with dads earning 17 per cent more than mums – an additional $4.90 an hour. It’s a disparity Dr Blue lambasts as “outrageous”.
“Women are really up against it – there is massive bias and massive sexism,” she says. “At the end of the day we’re all human, and can all be affected by the constant barrage of negativity and hurdles that need to be jumped.”
Dr Blue is also concerned by the fact only 61 per cent of the women NEXT surveyed agreed their employers accommodated their family responsibilities.
“It should be a lot better – it should be 100 per cent,” she says. “It’s still this resentment [by employers] that you’re having children, you’re being difficult, this is not helpful for the business, you’re not pulling your weight.”
A blow to morale
It should come as no surprise that only 56 per cent of those polled by NEXT feel life as a woman is better than ever before – a considerable drop from the 75 per cent who agreed with that statement eight years ago.
“For many individual women it is tougher,” says Cooper. “The house prices, the rents – especially if you’re living in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch; if you’re trying to bring up kids and you’re a female head of the household, all those places will have become harder to live in than they would have been eight years ago.”
Dr Blue believes the issue is compounded by international events “which lower morale”.
“Hillary Clinton losing [the American election] was incredibly depressing for many women, and then Helen Clark failing to become UN secretary-general, it was one thing after another,” she says.
Strength in numbers
And whether or not life is better, we’re not feeling positive about our place in it. The NEXT Report found 62 per cent of women don’t believe they are valued by society.
While Bennett would argue women are valued (“They’re the backbone to everything; they are parents, they are workers, they are the basis of society”), she does concede it’s understandable we’re feeling this way. “It’s really hard to get ahead when you feel like you’re being treated differently to men,” she says.
Dr Blue agrees the sense of being undervalued comes down to increasing understanding that men and women aren’t on a level playing field, accompanied by a feeling of powerlessness.
“They’re probably feeling a bit paralysed,” she suggests, adding that while the recent pay equity settlement for rest home workers was a win, it made no tangible difference to a large proportion of New Zealand women. “It does need a circuit-breaker of some sort.”
As to what form that circuit-breaker should take, the Ministry of Women is putting the onus on employers, while the Human Rights Commission is working on empowering the next generation.
Bennett initially focused on the 353,500 New Zealanders employed in the public sector – “Because how can we stand there and point at everyone else when we’ve got a 14 per cent gap ourselves?” – but is now also turning her attention to the private sector.
Although she didn’t agree with the Green Party’s pay equity bill – “I thought it was misinformed and wasn’t going to make a big difference” – in July she released guidance for Kiwi businesses on how to close their pay gap.
Dr Blue is heartened by work she has seen by some employers, including holding ‘bias training’ to help them avoid unconscious prejudice, but adds, “it needs to happen quicker and more companies need to be doing it.”
She encourages women to band together and hold businesses to account. “I would just ask, ‘Are women being paid the same as men in this organisation?’ It will absolutely throw the boss, but they will have to start doing gender pay gap metrics and a pay equity audit. Also talk with like-minded women – form a group or a network. It is really helpful to know you’re not alone, you’ve all got the same issues.
We want to thank YOU for the big success of our 87th Anniversary and celebration of #BPWDay!
It is indeed wonderful to see that on 26th August, all the BPW sisters wherever you are, bonded through this unified celebration. On 26th August, we wore yellow and we wore it with #BPWPride!
A BIG thanks to all who joined in the celebration, for wearing yellow, putting on your BPW Pin and taking such beautiful photos. We saw that there were also cakes and yummy food and drinks at some of the celebrations, it really couldn’t have been made better!
We have tried to share as many of the photos we could find that was publicly available and with hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride on our BPW International Facebook page, so do head on over to see more photos. Do also check out Instagram and Twitter for photos! You’ll be very excited to see so many clubs spread out across the world joining in this celebration.
The success of the 87th #BPWDay celebration would not have been possible without you. We are truly grateful for you and your active participation in BPW and we hope you had a great time!
Equal Pay Week of Action: It’s time to pay the sisters the same as the misters
Kiwis care about fairness. Ensuring that women are paid fairly and equally will be a key election issue. A week of action, Saturday 12 – Saturday 19 August, focused on the issues of equal pay will see events happening all around the country.
2017 has been a big year for equal pay with the huge success of the care and support settlement which saw union member Kristine Bartlett’s win equal pay on behalf of over 55,000 working women.
Most of the events planned will be celebratory; colourful, with music and dance. However they will also be future orientated. “The road to achieving equal pay for all continues to have potholes in it,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said. “The National Government seems determined to pursue a new law which will make achieving equal pay much more difficult. We will ensure that working woman and all those that support fairness and equality have their voices heard.”
For more information about what’s happening locally please refer to the table below – including local media contacts
Whangarei Toyota site
Carruth Street (Opposite Pak’n’Save)
Saturday 12 August10am for 10.30am start
Flash mob dancing to ‘She Works Hard for the Money’
Liz Boutet 021 416 541
Gather at Takutai Sq behind Britomart – march up Queen St to rally at the Suffrage Memorial Te ha o Hine Place off Lorne St
Saturday 12 August
11am – 12.30pm
March and rally MC – Michelle A’Court Speakers -Jacinda Ardern (Labour), Jo Goodhew (National), Jan Logie (Greens), Tracey Martin (NZ First) and Cinnamon Whitlock (Maori Party)
Carol Beaumont 027 275 7374
Methodist Centre, 62 London St, Hamilton
Wednesday 16 August
Drinks & nibbles with Jackie Blue [EEO Blue. Commissioner]; Prof Margaret Wilson [UoW]; and Carol Webb [school support worker]
Huia Welton021 524 502
Meeting at the Te Awe Awe quadrant of The Square and marching to George Street
Saturday 12 August
March with flash mob dancing to She Works Hard for the Money at start and finish. Dance led by Public Service Association Youth (PSAY)
Lisa Wilde 027 475 1884
Cuba St stage – near bucket fountain
Saturday 12 August
Rally & dancing Confirmed speakers –Kristine Bartlett, Vanisa Dhiru (Vice President National Council of Women), Suzanne Snively (Former Wellingtonian of the Year) & Richard Wagstaff (CTU President)Wear purple!
Angela McLeod 027 497 2761
Pomeroy’s Cafés –Pomeroys Coffee and Tea Co
Crema coffee cart (Church Steps)
Pomeroys City Store (Montgomery Square)
The Coffee Factory (16 Elms Street, Stoke)
Monday 14 –Friday 18 August
Men pay $0.50 more per coffee.Action supported by the Breeze Nelson
Pip Jamieson 027 247 2450
Sat 19 Aug 10.30am for 11am start
Speakers Ruth Dyson, (Labour); Jan Logie, (Greens); Liz Gordon, (Pillars Children’s Charity) and Nancy McShane followed by The Equal Pay Dance. Wear red and black for Canterbury
Nancy McShane 021 0816 2938
At the Exchange, corner of Princes and Rattray Street.