Calls to end workforce gender bias

More women than ever are serving overseas for the New Zealand Defence Force in war zones. Photos: NZDF.

Calls are being made to end the bias against women in the workforce.

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller says research from the Ministry for Women shows that there is a conscious and unconscious bias against women in the workplace; this has to stop.

“There is no justification in 2017 for paying women anything less than the value of the job.” New Zealand's gender gap is currently 12 per cent, down from 16.3 per cent in 1998.

“Although we are consistently ranked as having one of the lowest gender pay gaps in the OECD, this is still not good enough.

“I have had the privilege to work at both Zespri and Fonterra in senior levels in my career and looking back I probably fell into the trap of paying what the ‘market suggested' and didn't forcefully test that the proposed remuneration was genuinely fair and blind to gender.”

Todd says it's important to front the bias that exists so clearly across many of the country's employers. 

“Granted the bias might be subconscious, but every woman should be paid what the role is worth, not what we think the woman might accept in salary negotiation.

“There is a lot of debate on feminism and its role in today's age, but for me it's simple. Until I can look my daughters in the eye and assure them that they will be paid fairly in line with their male counterparts I will continue to be a determined feminist on this issue.”

The New Zealand Defence Force is one organisation that says is celebrating equal opportunities for both men and women.

In a statement released today, the Defence Force says more women than ever are serving overseas for the New Zealand Defence Force in war zones, on peacekeeping missions and other international deployments.

While women make up about 16 per cent of the NZDF's Regular Force, the number overseas is about 20 per cent of the 495 personnel deployed.

That is the highest level since the Human Rights (Women in Armed Forces) Amendment Act 2007 was passed, removing a provision that allowed the Defence Force to restrict women's involvement in combat and other front-line roles.

And as the world celebrates International Women's Day, some of the women serving overseas say the equal opportunities for training and promotion are responsible for the increasing number of women deployed or serving as commanders.

Of the women deployed overseas, some are serving in the Middle East or in war zones like Iraq, while others are on a six-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific region as crew members of the Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha and replenishment tanker Endeavour.

“Seeing an increasing number of women in positions of command and on overseas missions is an inspiration to me,” says Able Medic Koryn Berriman, one of three medics on Te Kaha.

Flight Lieutenant Erica Riddle, the Logistics Officer of the NZDF's maritime security operation in the Middle East, says in her 15 years with the NZDF, she has seen opportunities for women improve across the three Services.

“I am proud that I work for an organisation where gender is not a factor in decision-making, training or career progression.”


I agree Astex

Posted on 08-03-2017 22:54 | By GreertonBoy

I have worked where there is heavy lifting (printing industry) and often women would have to get men to move pallets or lift heavier boxes etc... and I ran a guillotine that the paper was heavy and requires strength and technique to handle. There was also a Lady co worker there who could lift more than I could (she would have beaten me in a punch up too BTW) ... so rather than GENDER being the sole basis, I think work/military should be performance biased, rather than Gender. If a soldier with a heavy backpack can run carrying the M60.... be they male or female, they do the job. Plenty of 60kg guys couldn't carry the backpack and heavy gun. Just because a person is MALE doesn't make them strong, same as just because a person is female doesn't make them weak. Pay by job performance

@ The Hobbit

Posted on 08-03-2017 17:11 | By astex

I agree. Many years ago I worked in a factory and it involved lifting heavy equipment into place and securing it. Women argued that they should be treated equally and be allowed to do that job. Ended up, in time, with the girls needing someone to lift the equipment whilst they secured it. They were getting the same pay as the guys who did the whole thing.

At Agree.....

Posted on 08-03-2017 15:46 | By Cruisy Suzy

Men are entitled to paternity leave too you know. It's not just for women.


Posted on 08-03-2017 15:00 | By The Hobbit

There should be equality in the workplace - women should be paid the same as men for doing exactly the same job, but equality has to mean that. There should be no paid maternity leave meaning that women should use annual leave entitlement or unpaid leave to have babies. Fairs fair ladies.

Good item for International Women's Day.

Posted on 08-03-2017 14:59 | By morepork

For some types of job there has ALWAYS been gender equality. During a long technology based career around the world, I have been privileged to work with some very smart and capable women and they were always paid the same as the men. In some jobs there is such a shortage of skilled people that it would be crazy NOT to pay women the same. It is certainly time that the whole of industry recognized this. There should be a rate for a job, not for who is doing it. Exactly the same principle as discriminating against people on the basis of their ethnicity, belief system, or culture. It's good to see the world is waking up.

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