Census issues not new issues

Monday 8 November 2010, 5:26PM
By Pansy Wong

The Biennial New Zealand Census of Women's Participation 2010 released today contains no new issues, Minister of Women's Affairs Pansy Wong says.

She says that is why in the two years she has been Minister she and the Ministry of Women's Affairs have made getting more women in leadership and closing the gender pay gap two of their three priorities.

"The number of women on state sector boards is consistently above 40 per cent. Australia has only just made 40 per cent its target and Norway legislates for 40 per cent of women on boards.

Mrs Wong says the National Government has been focusing on getting more women on SOE boards. In the MWA 2008 stocktake women made up 32 per cent of SOE boards in the 2009 stocktake that increased to 35 per cent.

"Huge improvements need to occur in the NZSX top 100 companies, where women now make up 9.3 per cent of directors. This is a very small increase from 8.6 per cent in 2008.

"That is why the Government launched Women on Boards, making the business case for more women directors, last year.

"I am very pleased that the New Zealand Shareholders Association has made getting more women on boards one of its three objectives and it is practicing what it preaches by using the MWA's Nomination Service to appoint three women directors to their association.''

Mrs Wong says nationally, the gender pay gap has been closing over the past two years.

Since 2004 it has been sitting at around 12 per cent but last year dropped to 11.3 per cent and this year to 10.6 per cent. Mrs Wong says despite this, New Zealand cannot be complacent. There is still work to do.

She says the Ministry of Women's Affairs is working on four work streams.

Getting more women into male dominated trades as occupational segregation accounts for up to 25 per cent of the gender pay gap.

The Ministry's work with the Institute of Accountants identified that flexible work practices can lead to higher profitability, lower staff turnover and also accommodates contemporary workforce expectations. The Ministry is also working to create pathways for women in low paid sectors to move upwards, and tracking male and female graduate income.