Gender Inequality in New Zealand

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Gender inequality has been an issue in New Zealand and around the world for thousands of years. The gender pay gap still plays a huge role in social inequality in New Zealand. Employment means all people should have equal opportunities to engage fully in employment regardless of what their gender is. Since the early 20th century, the gender pay gap narrowed significantly, yet inequality in men and women’s income still exist. The gender pay gap in 1998 was 16.2% in New Zealand where as in 2019 the gender pay gap dropped to 9.3% (Stats NZ, 2020). Whina Cooper, an 80-year-old woman led a march in 1975 from Te Hapua to Parliament in Wellington. She is best known for campaigning throughout her life for land rights and social justice for aboriginal Maori people (Nz History, 2017). This is an example of how women and men are seen differently, not specifically income related but overall. She reminded an international audience that “the Treaty was signed so that we could all live as one nation in Aotearoa”. Women’s rights began to develop overtime. Employment New Zealand (2020) review female workers in New Zealand working in occupations that are more than 80% female and these female-dominated occupations tend be lower paid. There are many reasons for why the gender pay gap occur. The skills and knowledge that women apply in female-dominated jobs might not be seen or valued appropriately in comparison to other jobs. In a traditional role, women are usually the ones who must leave their occupation temporarily to look after their children. This may be a result as to why women get paid less than men as they might have less experience than men, also leading them to fall behind in their work. This can affect someone’s social stratification because the pay gap is due to gender and possibly because of their education too. The Equal Pay Act 1972 requires women and men who do the same work, share similar skills, effort, and responsibility are paid the same. Introducing equal pay for women and men and anti-discrimination legislation may have improved women’s hourly income and access to jobs, although their earning is still lower than men’s. Stats NZ’s (2020) data shows that on average, women earn $2.50 less an hour than men do. The benefits of pay and employment equity for women can reduces their reliance on income support and will be about to be economically independent.

Sunday 8th of March marks International Women’s Day in 2020 and NZ Herald (2020) interview Dr Kaisa Wilson to discuss gender equality still being ‘frustratingly slow’. In 2019, progress on the gender-based goals were announced for the first time, and it became clear that are countries are not doing enough to meet these goals by the target date of 2030. Wilson argues that gender equality was part UN’s 17 sustainable development goals that New Zealand had agreed to. When trying to end gender inequality, resolving extreme poverty and climate change will not be possible if women remain disadvantaged in work occupations, especially when they are half the world’s population. Bias occurs when we are not thinking and use stereotypes that generalize or emphasize information which can be labelled as ‘fast thinking’ (Ministry for Women, 2020). Bias makes it harder for women to adjust and achieve in their jobs because it is tough trying to find those who benefit and those who are disadvantaged. It effects little day-to-day behaviors, such as who is called on to suggest an opinion or accept challenging jobs, and who gets to decide on hiring, promotions and setting salaries (Ministry for Women, 2020). Stereotypical views about gender can negatively affect your decision about recruitment and career progression says National Library Govt. New Zealand herald collected data that was posted on National Library Govt regarding a study of household jobs done by children in New Zealand which revealed girls are more likely to spend time cleaning their bedrooms, doing dishes or washing and looking after their siblings. While boys are most likely to take out the rubbish and do gardening or wash cars. The results came out that boys in New Zealand get on average $3 more pocket money than girls do.

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An article on BBC news (2019) explains how a gender equality charity have said women should have the right to know the incomes of their male colleagues if they suspicious of pay discrimination. The secrecy of pay results in women not knowing if they are being paid the same as men which can be unfair. Why is it so hard for women to ask, it should be plain and simple? There is no harm in men telling their female colleagues what their income is so why don’t they help by simply telling the truth.

I believe that equal pay is important as female workers want to feel good about coming into work and believe that have appropriate skills and talents. They might not think they have appropriate skills and talents if they know they are getting a lower income than men. By paying men and women equally for the same work they both do, you are showing a powerful message about gender equality. There can be issues around inequality regarding the pay differences as it could lead to the reputations of organizations and companies to be damaged. It is an issue for women when they are not paid as much as men because they start to depend on welfare payments, especially when they start to age. Pay equity is a brilliant way to remove gender and race discrimination when maintaining wages. I strongly believe if two people are doing the same amount of work, but one gets paid more just because they are male, it is unfair. By making sure that employees are getting equal pay for equal work, employees can help build a society that’s fair and make sure everyone knows they can achieve their potential and be fairly rewarded for they work they put in.

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Gender Inequality in New Zealand. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Gender Inequality in New Zealand.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
Gender Inequality in New Zealand. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Gender Inequality in New Zealand [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:

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