TEU Women Newsletter August 2015

Posted By TEU on Aug 18, 2015 |


Welcome to the first newsletter of the National Women’s Committee, Te Kahurangi Māreikura for 2015.

The purpose of these newsletters is to bring together issues important for women, highlight work we are doing to improve women’s pay and employment equity in the tertiary sector, and celebrate the wins along the way.

For this year, we’ve decided to add a new section to each newsletter, in the form of a guest editorial.

Each issue we will invite a TEU woman to write a short editorial on an issue of her choice to open our newsletter.

In this way, we will amplify women’s voices and encourage all of us to consider issues that may not come across our desks very often. I hope you enjoy the first editorial, and please let us know if you’d like to write one for an upcoming issue.

Cat Pausé, TEU women’s vice-president


Financing study – editorial

Francie Obert-NordtEvery year I teach students who go through some degree of financial hardship. Some cases are much worse than others, but all cases I have dealt with in my role as pastoral care and programme coordinator have impacted on the student’s ability to study and/or to successfully complete their programme of study.

The current eligibility criteria for a student allowance leaves many of my students ineligible and needing to find work, hopefully outside of class time to pay the bills.

Nothing wrong with that you might say, however, the students I come into contact with are often working 25-35 hours per week to make enough money to make ends meet while trying to study full time. Working these long hours while studying full time impacts in many ways upon the student: poor or sporadic attendance, tired and often run down students trying to stay awake in class, regular illness due to being run down, stress and anxiety issues, poor test and exam results and the list goes on.

Here is one example of a current level 4 student that I teach.

Nikita was unsure about what she wanted to do after she left school, and study was expensive, so she opted to work in hospitality for a few years.

She earned well, roughly $600 per week, but eventually she decided she needed some higher level training and qualifications to progress into hospitality management.

Not eligible for a student allowance she could not afford her $300 per week rental and was forced to move home to live with her parents in Kaiapoi.

She admits she is very lucky that her parents took her in.

Not every student has that luxury. Luckily she was eligible for a living costs allowance of $165 per week (which she will eventually have to pay back with her student loan)

“It was a struggle to survive when I was working” she tells me “but this is ridiculous!” She can no longer afford to use her car “paying for registration, a warrant of fitness, petrol and for the odd repair job is just not an option anymore”. Nikita buses each day from Kaiapoi at a cost of $25 per week and this rises to $40 a week if she opts to use the transfer bus instead of walking for 15 minutes to or from the bus exchange.

She spends a lot of her time worrying about how she will make ends meet. She tells me “budgeting on such a low income is hard”.

Out of the $165, Nikita pays for electricity, food and Wi-Fi and personal hygiene items. She eats frugally and is slowly paying off her prescription glasses. She missed classes yesterday because she had a headache brought on by a wisdom tooth problem. She cannot afford to pay the dentist’s quoted $1400 to have the tooth extracted and manages her pain with across the counter medication.

I might add here that in the last year I have had three students who were in constant pain who were unable to afford dental treatment and I can name four students in my class last year that said they could not afford to go to the doctor when they were sick or afford medicine.

One student told me she went to the public hospital emergency department; she was that desperate to have her tooth out, but they told her it was not serious enough to warrant surgery.

Nikita went on to conclude “there is no incentive for people to study or improve themselves or gain qualifications. The education system needs help! It’s ridiculous!

I tell people if you are going to study make sure you know what you want to do. It is too expensive to make a mistake.

The problem is how many 16-17 year olds really know what they want to do when they leave high school?”

Nikita is one of the many students struggling financially. But combine this type of financial stress with all too common learning and behavioural issues, depression and anxiety issues, eating disorders and the pressure to study for and pass exams.

I have to say that there are far more students suffering from anxiety issues now than I have ever seen in my 19 years of teaching.

Our children are supposed to be our future. What type of future are we looking at when our children are loaded with thousands of dollars of student debt and in some cases without a completed qualification to show for it? What will it be like for them to pay back their debt when they can only find a job working on the minimum wage?

Francie Oberg-Nordt, Senior Academic Staff Member, Hospitality, Travel and Tourism, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). Francie has been a member of the TEU National Women’s Committee, Te Kahurangi o Aotearoa since 2013.


TEU women needed for boards

The Ministry for Women nominations service facilitates the appointment of women to state sector boards and committees. Many TEU women would be well qualified to take up roles.

Want to assess your board readiness?

My board strengths is a confidential online self-assessment. At the end of the self-assessment, you will have an individualised report on the types of governance roles you are suitable for, based on your current experience. Assess your board strengths here:http://women.govt.nz/our-work/women-leadership/preparing-board-role/assess-your-board-strengths

Want to join the database?

If you are interested, you can complete the nomination form herehttp://women.govt.nz/content/nominations-service-form

Need more information?



PBRF and gender – is there an issue?

“In 2006, the results produced a neat symmetry: 40% of males gained an A or B while only 23% of females; 40% of females gained an R while only 23% of males. These gendered averages express a range of structural disadvantages faced by female academics, including the aforementioned lack of international networks and underrepresentation in the professoriate. To this we can add an over-representation in subjects and disciplines that are rated poorly in the PBRF”



“Groups such as women … get much less of a fair go at work on every measure”.

Tracking Equality at Work: Human Rights Commission Report

The new research about equality at work from the Human Rights Commission was released in late June https://www.hrc.co.nz/news/tracking-equality-work-research-released/.

The HRC reports that “the research shows which groups of New Zealanders are doing above average in employment, pay, in achieving leadership roles, and which groups are doing less well. It also shows which groups are the most vulnerable, i.e. doing worst.

The web-based interactive tool allows analysis of equality on any one of these issues by sex, ethnicity, age and disability, over time.

It also makes it possible to track the outcomes of a particular group across multiple indicators.

The data demonstrates that inequality at work exists on every indicator and that the pattern of who is most vulnerable is remarkably consistent. Some groups such as women, Māori, Pacific people, people with disabilities and young people get much less of a fair go at work on every measure”.


Inspiring union women

Uniana wāhine – Hei hiringa! was the theme of the CTU 2015 Biennial Women’s Conference – and inspiring it was – to those who attended and from those who presented. TEU had a delegation of 18 from institutions across the country – with many more women wishing to attend than was possible. Some of the feedback included:

  • You could feel the camaraderie of women who believe in helping the struggle of many issues in the workplace for Women over the last two centuries.
  • I would like to thank TEU for giving me the opportunity to attend this. I recommend that our TEU women members who have never been to one may have a chance to go.
  • Being amongst like-minded women who fight the fight for those who feel threatened by their employers re – equal pay, minimum wage, workplace discrimination, age care, public funding, inequality & poverty!
  • It was especially great to hear about union achievements and realise how powerful and instrumental women in the union are and have been

Check out the union women page https://www.facebook.com/UnionWomenNewZealand


Suffrage Day 19 September

1893 The governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

The passing of the Electoral Act was the culmination of years of agitation by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and other organisations.

Plan to celebrate this day (as it is Saturday this year, make your event before or after the 19 September).

Some TEU branches now have a good tradition of holding annual events to mark Suffrage Day. Victoria and Lincoln both have breakfasts that have been financially supported by the institution. Weltec are planning a lunch with guest speaker Jan Logie MP talking on whether we need more women in parliament.

If you would like some ideas, help to organise the event or invite a guest speaker, contact the Women’s Officer, Suzanne.McNabb@teu.ac.nz


From 16 to 18 to 26? Paid Parental Leave

A strong union campaign to increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks resulted in pressure on the government to extend paid parental leave from 14 to 16 weeks as from 1 April this year and to 18 weeks from 1 April next year.

Do you know that this paid leave is in addition to employer paid leave in most cases? Check your collective agreement.

Do you know that Sue Moroney MP has another Bill, recently drawn from the ballot to push again for 26 weeks leave? Keep a watch for how you can take small actions to support 26 weeks paid parental leave. http://26forbabies.org/

Do you know that Norway has one of the world’s most generous parental leave systems? Parents can take up to 59 weeks off on 80 percent pay, and the leave can be equally divided? Watch this clip http://www.dw.com/en/daddy-leave-norwegian-style/av-18481361

ANZ announced on Wednesday that it would top up KiwiSaver contributions for staff on parental leave.

The move comes as part of a wider campaign to close a looming gender gap in retirement savings. Eight years into KiwiSaver, the average balance for women members of the ANZ KiwiSaver scheme were almost 28 per cent lower than men, at $8,918 and $11,396, respectively. This was to have long-term effect on overall retirement savings. “We estimate that women on average are likely to retire with $144,000, compared to $203,000 for men – that’s significantly less money,” ANZ General Manager Wealth Products and Marketing, Ana-Marie Lockyer, said.

“To help close this gap, we have decided to pay KiwiSaver employer contributions for staff taking parental leave,” said NZ General Manager Human Resources Felicity Evans. “This is a first for New Zealand and we hope it encourages other companies to also consider how they can support their employees in saving for their retirement.”


All the way for equal pay; fair share for aged care

Many of you will already have heard about the ‘Kristine Bartlett’ case for equal pay for caregivers – primarily women. It is an important case with implications for many other women working in occupations that are lowly paid because it is work ‘women do’.

Check out these websites for more information.


$4 gender pay gap growing faster than inflation

The gap between the hourly pay rates of men and women grew by another 30 cents last year.

The pay gap is now $4.20 and it grew 7 percent in the last year, according to the latest Quarterly Employment Survey data . “The government is not only ignoring the pay gap.” says TEU women’s vice-president Cat Pausé, “it is making it worse.”

Pausé says four dollars is a huge pay gap, and it is even more for Pasifika and Māori women.

“The pay gap between men and women is growing faster than inflation. The government needs to pay its own women fairly.”

“But it also needs to take proactive steps to close the gap for all women – reintroduce pay and employment equity reviews, and the pay and employment equity unit,” says Pausé.

TEU on Morning Report – Union pushes for Equal Pay


Women’s Agenda

Want to read some challenging articles about gender equality? For example “What ‘merit test’ are male politicians taking?” This email newsletter is produced in Australia and has much relevance for women in NZ. Check out the website to subscribe.



Join the global action against Mulberry

Mulberry is a British company that produces luxury goods like leather bags. It proudly proclaims its commitment to “corporate social responsibility”. On its website, Mulberry insists that its “suppliers should respect the rights of employees to join or form an association of their choosing (such as workers council, union, or workers association)”.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except that it’s not true.

One of Mulberry’s key suppliers, SF Leather in Turkey, is now engaged in a campaign of relentless union-busting. Over the last few weeks, the company has sacked 14 union supporters, offering their jobs back on the condition that they cancel their union membership. It has demanded that a local court impound a union banner and block the union distributing material online of their action. And it has even filed a claim for damages against the union. So much for “corporate social responsibility”.

The union (Deriteks) and their global union federation (IndustriALL) are calling for a massive online campaign to send a clear message to Mulberry and SF Leather: no to union-busting!

You can join the global action by taking a moment to send off a message today: http://www.labourstart.org/go/mulberry


Staff Women’s Caucus – Otago University

The Staff Women’s Caucus at the University of Otago is a group of staff, both general and academic who meet for social and collegial contact.

The group provides a forum for discussing common interests, affirming, supporting and strengthening the role of women in the University community. Staff Women’s Caucus respond to public comment affecting women, nominate women for committees or working parties and comment on reports and charters. TEU has a nominated representative on the Committee. I have been that rep for the past 3 years.

One initiative I have been involved in with the group is Brown Paper Bag Lunches. This is where women from around the University speak during the lunch hour on their career paths and the challenges involved in how they got where they are today. There has been one each month and we have had some very interesting speakers, including the TEU President Sandra Grey

Amanda Phillips, NWC member, University of Otago

National Council of Women of New Zealand

TEU is a member of NCWNZ which has Branches around the country. If you would like to join a branch and be a TEU rep, please let the Women’s Officer knowwomens.officer@teu.ac.nz

NCWNZ produces On Balance – with national and international news and research – you can subscribe here:


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