Auckland, March 6, 2020
The World will observe ‘International Women’s Day’ on Sunday, March 8, 2020.
Designated by the United Nations, the day will mark usual speeches, statements and feature articles in newspapers, magazines and social media. Governments will announce new plans to lift the status of women in their societies, national and international organisations will pledge to work towards the betterment of women and there even be public events to celebrate the day.
Bur so long as employers in government, commercial, industrial and social services sectors continue to accord women a place of secondary importance and do not remove discrimination, mere celebration of International Women’s Day will have no meaning.
Pay disparity, gender inequality
Gender equality or inequality has been a topic of discussion since long, but the issue has been generating heat in the public domain in recent years.
Two major reasons have been cited for its re-emergence – the global financial crisis that brought to the fore many ills of companies, and recent reports, which indicate that companies with women (at least one) on the board of directors and on management boards tend to perform better than others. It is indeed time to address this issue with greater thoroughness and sincerity.
For many years, researchers and corporate consultants have been saying that New Zealand is among the countries with a poor record of gender equality and that in many cases, women are paid less than men for performing the same type of jobs, often within the same company.
Indian community better
It seems there are no valid reasons for this inequity and like many things in life, there is greater interest in preserving the status quo ante than in thinking afresh.
We are happy that the situation in the Indian business community is far better, compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the country.
We have women occupying positions of importance- as owners, directors, HR managers, chief financial officers and so on in companies that are owned, operated, managed and franchised by businesses of Indian origin. We have seen them participate in all management decisions, setting policies and strategies and steering their organisations towards higher levels of productivity and profitability.
Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter wants to ensure all women’s contributions are valued as she looks ahead to International Women’s Day.
She issued the following Statement:
This International Women’s Day I acknowledge everyone who is working every day to help women and girls achieve their potential in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This Government is making a difference for New Zealand women.
We have delivered to ensure women are paid fairer in record pay settlements for female dominated workforces, and have reduced the gender pay gap in the public service to the smallest gap since government started measuring it.
Minimum wage lifted
We have boosted the minimum wage by $1.95 since taking office. Women make up 60% of minimum wage workers, so these increases have really benefited the female workforce.
New parents have benefited from increased paid parental leave to 26 weeks (from July 1, 2020).
We are particularly committed to doing better for wahine Maori with the Mana Wahine kaupapa inquiry claim progressing and the Government proactively addressing issues raised.
This International Women’s Day, let us ensure that all women’s contributions are recognised and valued. There are many hours of unpaid work carried out by women in the home, in schools, and in the community across New Zealand.
I wish to use this day to celebrate all of the women who are the centre of our communities and not always recognised.