What’s driving the gender pay gap

The Ministry for Women released:

The Ministry for Women has today published new research – undertaken by Auckland University of Technology for the Ministry for Women – that identifies what’s driving the gender pay gap which still sits at 12 percent.

“The research, lead by Professor Gail Pacheco, tells us that factors such as type of work, family responsibilities, education, and age only actually account for 20 percent of the gender pay gap,” says Margaret Retter, Acting CEO of the Ministry for Women.

“Around 80 percent of the gap is due to ‘unexplained’ factors. We, at the Ministry for Women, view these factors primarily as behaviour, attitudes, and assumptions about women in work, including unconscious bias.”

Although women are graduating with more qualifications than men, the research shows these qualifications are not fully reflected in wages.

I’m surprised that known factors account for only 20%. I assumed it would be higher.

The unexplained factors are of course difficult to counter. One of those factors is that women are not as assertive or aggressive as men in negotiating pay rises, but this is partly because women who are as assertive as men get labelled as high maintenance, difficult etc etc. So part of the solution is having a culture where assertiveness is seen just as positively for women as men.

Paula Bennett noted:

It will take a concerted effort to reduce the gender pay gap. Our former Finance Minister, now Prime Minister, Bill English is a good example of someone striving to do better for women. When he was Minister of Finance he had to approve board appointments. He’d receive lists that were mostly, if not entirely men. So instead of taking the attitude “that must be all there was out there” and the word of Treasury that these were the only qualified candidates, he’d send the list back to Treasury and wouldn’t consider making appointments until he had women to choose from. And sure enough – once Treasury was challenged they always found good women candidates. He would still always choose the best person for the job – he just insisted on having the best to choose from. Forty eight per cent of his board appointments as Finance Minister were women. 

Interesting by contrast, the entire senior leadership of Andrew Little’s office is men – a total blokefest.

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