Flat white price highlights gender pay inequity

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Men were charged 10% more for coffees at a cart parked on Victoria University’s law campus in Wellington this morning. While a long black or a flat white cost women $3.50 and $4 respectively, men had to fork out $3.80 and $4.40.

The gendered prices were designed to underscore, in tangible terms, the difference between what men and women are paid in New Zealand.

The coffee cart was part of YWCA’s ‘Demand Equal Pay’ campaign, which aims to have parliament introduce the ’Pay Equality Bill’ that was drafted by Dr Judy McGregor, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

Event organiser Lisa Fedyszyn told the Dominion Post that she hoped men would be as outraged as women. “If the percentage isn’t zero then it’s not fair,” she said. 

The stunt comes in the wake of data released in Statistics New Zealand’s quarterly employment survey that showed that the gender pay gap had increased from 12.85% to 14.18% in the year to September. As the YWCA points out on their website, gender inequalities in pay mean that New Zealand women are working from now until the end of the year for free.

In Australia, the discrepancy between men and women’s wages remains a serious issue for both the federal government and the corporate Australia, according to the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins.

Yet the pay gap has remained virtually unchanged for more than two decades. “Women’s pay has remained between 82-85% of men’s pay since 1990. It’s completely unacceptable that this situation still prevails,” Helen Conway from the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) said on equal pay day in September.

Australia’s unequal pay in stats:
 

  • This year, it took women 64 days to reach parity, while in the previous two years it was 63 days. On average, men earn 17.5% more than women in comparable jobs.
     
  • The annual employee earnings report found the average male worker was earning $1,227 a week, while the average female earned $819 a week.
     
  • Less than 40% of companies surveyed by EOWA conduct an annual gender pay equity analysis. Of the organisations that did conduct an analysis, just over half put together an action plan to address the gender pay gap.

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