25 September 2023

NEW ZEALAND: Equality steps reveal double standards

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A report on gender inequality in the New Zealand Public Service has revealed double standards.

The report, commissioned by the Ministry for Women, shows public sector organisations are trying to do better, but are not getting very far.

One of the report’s authors, Noelle Donnelly from the Centre for Labour, Employment and Work at Victoria University in Wellington said her interviews showed Government Agencies were highly committed to addressing and improving gender equity in their workplaces.

“Yet despite managerial intentions, the success of gender equity initiatives were limited by entrenched traditional cultures that privilege certain groups, full-time working and masculinist leadership models, and the challenges in implementing flexible work arrangements,” Dr Donnelly said.

Chief Executive of the National Council of Women, Gill Greer (pictured) said the persistent attitudes needed to be changed.

“You often hear the myth: ‘Oh well, women have children’; well in fact men have children too and it doesn’t impact in the same way,” Ms Greer said.

She said bias was ingrained and equity was still a long way off.

“I’m not at all surprised that work needs to be done, even though the Public Service has done better than the private sector,” Ms Greer said.

She said unjust structures behind inequality needed to be reformed and workplaces should be more flexible.

“It requires real commitment from leaders and it requires a systemic approach and addressing those unconscious stereotypes that have been with us for so long,” Ms Greer said.

Wellington, 4 October 2018

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