International Women's Day to focus on gender pay gap

By Te Ao - Māori News, Tracey Carter
Pictured: Wāhine Māori at a Māori Women's Welfare Hui.

The focus of this Friday's International Women’s Day is on achieving “Balance for Better” between genders. 

Vanisa Dhiru, President of the NZ’s National Council of Women says, "This means we need a better gender balance in income equality, in leadership, in safety and health, in education and all areas of life.”

She says such a move will completely change the current landscape.

“This would look like a gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth and gender-balanced sports coverage," she says.

True gender equality could take upwards of 170 years to achieve, according to a global gender gap report by the World Economic Forum.

Dhiru says, “This is absolutely unacceptable and it's worse for some groups of women than others, because of racism, transphobia and other forms of discrimination".

The gender pay gap, which measures the gap between pay between men and women undertaking the same work, highlights a startling disparity for wāhine Māori.

The disparity between men and women's pay, showing the pay gap is greater for wāhine Māori (18%) than all NZ women (9.2%). 

In general, women are paid 9.2 percent less than men, but for wāhine Māori the gap is 18 percent.

Dhiru says gender balance is vital for creating a better world for future generations.

"If we could break down these rigid expectations around gender, we'd create more room for everyone.  Getting rid of the norms that cause gendered violence, pay inequality, the devaluing of caregiving work and parenting and inequalities in leadership roles- just to name a few outcomes- would change our world for the better and help to achieve a gender balance in critical areas."