Supporting positive changes for women in the workforce

Tomorrow, 8 March, New Zealand joins with other countries on International Women’s Day to support initiatives that are creating a better working world for women says Ministry for Women Acting Chief Executive Margaret Retter.

“Women’s participation in the New Zealand labour market continues to grow – 65.3 percent of women now participate in the labour market compared to 55 percent in 1995. Women’s participation helps our economy.

“Diversity and inclusion issues are seen as vital to strong performance by many of New Zealand’s leading public and private sector organisations, for example, by New Zealand Police, the supreme winner at the Diversity Awards 2016,” said Mrs Retter.

“Women now have the highest participation rate ever on state sector boards (43.4 percent). Women also carry out the majority of work in the community and voluntary sectors.

“However, women’s leadership and skills remain significantly under-employed across the economy.  Women held only 17 percent of positions on the boards of companies listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) in 2015.

“We would also ask employers what actions they can take to reduce the national gender pay gap, currently sitting at 12 percent, and really get our economy moving. Our research has shown that many of the issues behind the gender pay gap relate to specific processes and practices within the workforce,” said Mrs Retter.

The Ministry for Women’s work is focused on increasing the numbers of women entering high growth industries, researching more about women in the workforce through work on the gender pay gap and pay equity, and encouraging more women into leadership.

“Our work to nominate women for state sector board roles is growing the number of women in those roles and growing the number of women overall in governance in New Zealand.

“On International Women’s Day we support all of the individuals and organisations actively championing positive changes for women in the workplace,” she said.

For more information read the Ministry for Women’s Briefing to the Incoming Minister 2016. Women can also join the state sector nominations database.