New Zealand launches pathways for 'marginalised' women at work

This is part of the government's bigger employment strategy

New Zealand launches pathways for 'marginalised' women at work

New Zealand has introduced a new action plan that aims to improve workplaces for women and remove the barriers that slow them down in the workforce.

"This government is committed to improving women's working lives. The current reality is that women have different experiences in the world of work than men, and change is needed," said Minister for Women Jan Tinetti in a statement.

According to Tinetti, women are more likely to earn less per hour, do more unpaid work, work part-time, and be underemployed compared to men. Female-dominated industries are also often lower paid, she added, with women more likely to take breaks from their careers to raise children.

The Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine plans to address such barriers and issues, according to the minister.

"This plan provides actions to improve employment pathways for women who are marginalised at work, particularly wāhine Māori, Pacific women, young and older women, disabled women, women who are former refugees and recent migrants, and women in the LGBTQIA+ community," she said.

Among those plans include, immediate, medium, and long-term ones, according to the minister, which contains strategies addressing fair pay agreements, pay transparency, as well as gender pay gap.

"Further actions contained within the strategy include work underway across Government to implement fair pay agreements and to investigate pay transparency following the recommendations of the Education and Workforce Committee," said Tinetti.

"They also include monitoring Kia Toipoto, the action plan for the public service to close the gender pay gap, and Te Orowaru, the pay equity work assessment tool, with a view to applying these tools to the private sector."

The plan comes as unemployment and underutilisation rates for wāhine Māori and Pacific women remain higher than European women.

The government said the Manatū Wāhine and the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women will be consulting the wāhine Māori and Pacific women to identify training and employment solutions to help them amid the pandemic.

Read more: Māori employment: Government unveils action plan to 'remove barriers'

The Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women's Employment Action Plan is the last action plan revealed by the government under its overall employment strategy.

"This new Action Plan is another tool in our government’s toolbox as we secure our recovery and support Aotearoa New Zealand to become a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy," said Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

"Our government's overall Employment Strategy values the importance of improving people's wellbeing through work and unlocking their potential to take up employment," she added.

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