Red bag day approaches

Posted By TEU on Feb 9, 2017 | 3 comments

Women in New Zealand would have to work until 17 February to earn the same amount as men did in the previous year.

The date, also known as Equal Pay Day, or Red Bag Day, marks the period of extra days in the current year which women would need to work to make up the pay gap.

The day is recognised in many countries around the world, with the exact day varying depending on the gender pay gap in any particular country.

Pay discrimination has been outlawed in New Zealand since the 1972 Equal Pay Act. However, 45 years later women in New Zealand still earn an average 13 percent less than men for every hour worked.

Speaking in support of equal pay day, Suzanne McNabb, the TEU national women’s officer said

“A gender pay gap is neither economically sensible nor socially justifiable and equal pay day is a great way of highlighting this basic unfairness. It shows that for each of the first seven weeks of the New Year women are working just to catch up with what their male counterparts earned last year.”

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  1. I’m a bit confused. The gender pay gap appears to be comparing average pay of all males vs. the average pay of all females, I think. If so, this is an extremely opaque basis for a discussion. Can someone help with where the differences specifically exist given it’s already illegal to pay less for the same job on the basis of gender? TIA 🙂

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  2. Hi Des
    Good on you for being honest and asking. Yes, it is an opaque measure but the reality for a woman (individually) and women (collectively) is that we continue to face discrimination and inequity. So work that is predominantly “women’s work” ie care giving, is extremely poorly paid. Even in occupations such as nursing and education, where women dominate, men manage to get better pay. EG, I gained information that in my area, 2 male staff with very similar experience and qualifications and doing the same job as other female staff appointed around the same time, were appointed on higher initial salaries. One could argue that they refused to accept a lower salary, but how can you justify such gender discrimination? Nursing & the police force typically compare their starting salaries as they both do demanding work, shift work & potentially dangerous work, – nurses do a 3 year degree that they pay to do (costs of $50 -$60K) & police do 16 weeks (paid at approx. $40k/annum equiv.). Nurses start on approx. $49K & police start on a remuneration package of approx. $61,500. In nursing & teaching, despite the female domination, mediocre men appear to rise to the top faster than many magnificent women. In corporate boards, males dominate; in most professions, the top positions have a disproportionate number of men. Our society still pays more for men and to men and the gender pay gap is real and wrong.

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  3. I agree with Tina. Even in the academic field, there is unconscious gender bias that leads to men being preferred for positions over women with the same CV (see Even worse, the bias leads to the men being better paid. On top of it, women are less often funded or published (This week in Nature, I think), get more often part time or short time contracts (even if they do not have kids or do prefer full time, long term employment), and therefore miss out on superannuation or health care benefits.

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What are your thoughts?