International Comparisons

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses an alternative measure to the gender pay gap called the gender wage gap (GWG) to compare the difference in men’s and women’s wages across its member countries.

The GWG only measures the difference between the median hourly wages of men and women who work full-time, whereas the gender pay gap (GPG) includes part-time workers.

Using the GWG as a measure, New Zealand has one of the lowest pay gaps in the OECD. In the 2019/2020 year, New Zealand’s GWG was just 4.6 percent.

OECD Gender Wage Gap (2017/2018) selected countries
  NZL SWE MEX AUS GBR OECD DEU CAN FIN USA JPN KOR
Wage Gap 0.046 0.074 0.096 0.099 0.123 0.125 0.139 0.161 0.172 0.177 0.225 0.315

Some economists have theorised that our GWG is so low because New Zealand has a minimum wage. This raises the wages of women in lower-paying jobs.

In 2021, New Zealand’s gender pay gap was 9.1 percent, higher than the gender wage gap. One in three New Zealand women work part time. When part-time workers are included in pay gap measures we start to see the pay penalties faced by these women, many of whom are mothers. We call the drop in pay for women after having children the “Motherhood Penalty”, and you can read more about it here.

Visit the OECD here, to compare New Zealand with more countries, or to see the changes which have happened over time.

Find out how we can close the gender pay gap in New Zealand...