New Zealand’s Public Sector Gender Pay Gap Narrows to Record Low
(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand’s gender pay gap in the public sector narrowed to the smallest on record as the government pursues wage equity for women, an issue championed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The pay gap between men and women employed in the public service fell to 8.6% in 2021 from 9.6% the previous year, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti said in a statement Monday in Wellington. When measurement began in 2000, the gap was 18.6%, she said.
“We made a commitment to closing the gender pay gap in 2018 and we’ve delivered the largest three-year drop since measurement began,” Tinetti said. “The gender pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been, which is a great result.”
When Ardern came to power in 2017, she pledged to seek pay equity for women in the public service as a catalyst for widespread change. However, little progress has been made within the country’s workforce as a whole. The national gender pay gap is currently 9.1%, the same as it was in 2012, and has barely budged over the past five years.
The government has tried to close public service pay gaps by employing more women in leadership positions, eliminating gaps within the same roles and increasing work flexibility to retain women.
Significant pay gaps also persist for Maori and ethnic minorities.
In the state sector, the Maori gap narrowed to 8.3% from 9.3% in 2020, while the Pacific pay gap fell to 17.9% from 19.5% and the Asian gap declined to 11.6% from 12.8%, Tinetti said.
“More work is needed,” she said. “We need to make a bigger difference, for more people, by closing ethnic pay gaps as well.”
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