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Pay gaps should be public: Blue

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/11/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Big companies should be forced to publicise their gender pay gaps as a means to reduce the inequality, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue.</span> © Philip Toscano/ Press Association Big companies should be forced to publicise their gender pay gaps as a means to reduce the inequality, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue. New Zealand's biggest companies should be forced to publicise their gender pay gaps, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue.

The former National Party MP believes legislation is needed to address the historical legacy of women being paid less than men for doing the same job, saying if the UK and Australia can do it we can too.

At the current rate it would take 30 or 40 years to get a pay gender gap of zero, she told TV3's The Nation.

"If you look at average hourly, it's going to take a hundred years... that's not acceptable."

Labour was mocked when it proposed a 50:50 split in its caucus in 2013, but Dr Blue said she wanted the next government to commit to a gender-balanced cabinet.

"And if anything, the cabinet is the ultimate board in New Zealand, and if women on boards is now being accepted as good for business, it bloody is going to be good for New Zealand.

"So I don't want to hear these sort of measly: 'Oh, we appoint on merit,' or, 'if we use quotas'," Dr Blue said.

"They've got to be challenged and say, 'well, which definition and whose definition of merit are you using?' It's usually the dominant culture, that is men, so they need to understand those powerful forces of bias."

She was critical of the current government's seven women out of 20 in cabinet.

"(Prime Minister) John Key just has to bring three more women in and he's got a gender-balanced cabinet. That's not too hard."

Dr Blue cited UK legislation coming in next year, where every company with more than 250 employees needs to publish their pay gender gap and bonus gap or face a fine of about STG5000 ($NZ8550).

"It's still too low. But just across in Australia, they've been doing that since 2012 for companies over 100, so this is not like a weird idea."

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