Gender inequality in New Zealand | The Jackal

24 May 2012

Gender inequality in New Zealand

On Tuesday, the OECD reported:

In OECD countries, in 2009 nearly 60% of university graduate students were female. But men and women still choose different study and career paths. More than 75% of health and social science graduates are women, while some 70% engineering, manufacturing and construction graduates are men. New ways must be found to attract women to study and pursue careers in male-dominated sectors, which often offer better career and earnings prospects.

Employment rates are 13 percentage points lower for women than for men in OECD countries. Women are also much more likely to work part-time. Better and more affordable child care and more flexible work conditions are key to helping parents to be in paid work or increase hours and work full time, says the report.

Pay gaps also remain stubbornly high: on average in OECD countries women earn 16% less than men and female top-earners are paid on average 21% less. Across the OECD less than one-third of managers and only 10% of board members are women.

The OECD's Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship: Final Report (PDF) also states that Woman in New Zealand do more unpaid work than paid work, gain more tertiary qualifications than men and women-owned new enterprises outperform men-owned enterprises.

Although wage inequality between men and woman has been slowly dropping, the report finds that the government funding allocated to reduce inequality in New Zealand is on the low side in comparison to other OECD countries.

So basically woman are getting a raw deal. In fact the gender pay gap in the public sector was 14.4% in 2010. If we include all areas of the workforce, woman on average earn around $10,000 less per year.

There are many reasons why this is a problem, but perhaps the most pressing is the fact that woman who do not have financial security are more likely to remain in an abusive relationship. Therefore if the government wants to reduce the amount of domestic violence it must look at measures to increase gender equality.

New Zealand currently has one of the worst domestic violence rates in the world.