Tuesday, November 22, 2011


A couple of months ago, the Greens highlighted the persistent gender pay gap, and pushed for a law change to help close it by giving employees greater access to pay information. The government claimed that this wasn't necessary, as employees suspecting gender discrimination could simply ask for a labour inspector to investigate the issue on their behalf (and therefore any discrimination is the fault of women, for not acting to enforce their rights in this way). So, the Greens took them at their word, and got 261 workers in 18 workplaces across the country to ask for exactly such an investigation into their local workplace. You'll never guess what the result was:

Kelly says some 261 workers in 18 workplaces nationwide wrote to the labour inspectors, as the minister had suggested, seeking an investigation into their pay. They were told they need evidence that a pay gap exists before the inspectors can investigate.
So, in order to get evidence that a gender pay gap exists, you need evidence that a gender pay gap exists. Its a classic catch-22. Meanwhile, discrimination continues, and sexist employers laugh all the way to the bank.

Someone really needs to ask Kate Wilkinson if she's happy with this situation, and what (if anything) she's going to do about it. But I expect that as with Paula Bennett and 150 dead children a year from child poverty, she'll be "unavailable for comment".