Aotearoa’s first Pay Gap Registry

Good Bye Pay Gaps.


February 23, 2022

For many years now, the YWCA has been a passionate advocate in the gender at work and equal pay space.  We started the Equal Pay Awards almost a decade ago and developed and launched a thriving accreditation and community around Gender at Work – GenderTick.  And now we’re co-leading the campaign on pay gap reporting. 

As a youth focused organisation I am often asked why are we active in this space.  Sadly, Aotearoa’s young women are still maturing into workplaces that are unequal and unfair.  This is magnified where gender intersects with ethnicity, disability and migrant workers.  This shows up very obviously in the much larger pay gaps for Māori and Pacific women.  And in the chronic under utilisation of our talented disability and migrant communities. 

I am hopeful that 2022 is the tipping point year when we finally see momentum build, and ramp up the speed of equality at work, as it’s been 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed.  It’s time. I’m optimistic when I think about the experiences and qualities of GenZ young people.   As they were just becoming aware of the wider world, the Global Financial Crisis occurred.  This financial meltdown put a spotlight on some poor institutional values and actions and has served to give this cohort an enduring distrust of those in power.  This has formed their need for transparency and their commitment to purpose being at least as important as profit.  

In the tail end of the pandemic, our economic recovery will rely on us tapping into ALL our talented human resources.  The recovery will not reach its potential if organisations don’t meet our diverse, young people on their terms, delivering honesty and transparency.   

Burnout from Covid is real and many people are revisiting what is really important to them in their work/life balance.  They want fairness.  They want transparency. And our pay gap statistics are a flashing indicator of unfair pay discrimination based on bias and enduring outdated gender and ethinc norms. And New Zealand is well behind other nations. 

On March 8th, we will launch Aotearoa’s first Pay Gap Registry.  It will list 160+ of our biggest employers and show which are reporting their gender, Māori and Pacific pay gaps.  I am encouraged with the number of organisations that are committed to measurement, to understanding the drivers of pay gaps, and working to fix them.   

Now is the right time to bring transparency into play – we know that what gets reported in business, gets focus.  And we also know from our early leaders like SkyCity and Westpac that the public will respect the honesty and the desire to do better. 

So I am hopeful that following March 8th, other organisations will be encouraged to step up and do the right thing and 2022 will be the year we remember as a true shift in momentum. 

 “As a young brown migrant nearing the end of her law degree and transitioning into full-time work, I’ve
mentally prepared myself for a slice of the pay gap pie.  It sucks.”  Nina Santos. 

We have young women helping us shape and share the Mind the Gap campaign.  They are wondering what we older folk have been doing and why this hasn’t been addressed.  Their youthful perspective brings to life something we sometimes forget as we age – that we all have power to make change happen in what we spend, where we work, how we invest, and what we say. 

For those of you also keen to see 2022 as the year the gap really tips - ask your employer what their gender and ethnic pay gap is. 

Click here for more information on the types of Pay Gaps in Aotearoa and the Pay Gap Registry.

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