Monday, November 08, 2010

Can we have a real Minister of Women’s Affairs please?

Today, the Human Rights Commission released their biennial New Zealand Census of Women’s Participation [PDF], which showed a yawning gender-pay gap in the public sector and a failure of the private sector to demolish the glass ceiling. So what did Pansy Wong, National's Minister of Women’s Affairs have to say about this? Simply that they are "not new issues". Well, no, they're not - but it is her job to solve them. So what is she doing about it?

[Wong] says that is why in the two years she has been Minister she and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have made getting more women into leadership and closing the gender pay gap two of their three priorities.
They've "prioritised" it. Woo-hoo. Meanwhile, the public service has fewer female CEOs than they did when Wong became Minister, while the government is appointing fewer women to statutory entities than it did in 2006. Meanwhile, the Auckland CCO boards, a chance for the government to show real leadership, had even fewer appointments than the average - 27.6% as opposed to the average 41.5% across the public sector.

It is Wong's job to push the government towards equality. And by any measure, she is failing at it. Can we have a real Minister of Women’s Affairs please?