Nanaia Mahuta, MP for Hauraki-Waikato, has offered to regularly contribute to the Post Newspaper on topics she believes our readers may find interesting. This month, she discusses equal pay for the same work.
I was pleased this week when Green MP Jan Logie’s Equal Pay Amendment Bill was pulled from the ballot box. It is unlikely to pass to the next stage because if the issue was a high priority for the Government these issues would already have been addressed. For far too long the gender pay gap has been an invisible façade where ‘for all sorts of reasons’ the gap is perpetuated.
I have heard numerous stories of women who are doing the same role as their male counterparts but somehow they don’t get access to the company car. These types of situations are shameful at a time when we need greater diversity in the workplace and a more lateral approach to problem solving and innovation.
There certainly are biological differences that compel some women to delay professional progress in their chosen career path ‘until the kids are old enough to go to school’. But the options for professional women to accommodate this reality should allow greater choice, not less. Anyway, I count myself as very fortunate to have had a mother who worked the whole time throughout our upbringing, she was tough, organised and made sure we pulled our weight around the house to help out. Her approach to household finances was one of independence, bills were divided between our parents and right up until early adulthood we had no idea who was the ‘major breadwinner’. I suspect in the early years she was and later in life my dad was. Anyway Jan’s Bill will require greater transparency of pay rates across sectors and this will put greater pressure on employers to realise the intent of the primary legislation that no matter what, women and men should be paid the same for the same work responsibilities.
I hope that this Bill makes it to the next stage it aims to shine some light into an issue that is important to many women from all walks of life. I’m going to give it the nod because it’s the right thing to do.