17% more money for fathers – it pays to be a Dad.

Re: Ministry for Women and Statistics New Zealand ‘Effect of motherhood on pay’ report 



 Motherhood penalty unacceptable

 Is this a motherhood penalty or a fatherhood bonus? 17% more money for fathers – it pays to be a Dad.

The fact that women are being penalised for being mothers is a huge concern to the National Council of Women. The question we are asking of all New Zealanders, is do you think this is fair?

The National Council of Women has long been working to close the current gender pay gap – which, according to the research conducted for this report, sits at around 11% between men and women. (Note this research was conducted as “a point in time” so this figure is for June 2016).

We’ve known that the gender pay gap has been affected by changing work patterns due to parenthood. This report provides evidence to this, showing that a significant motherhood penalty exists – or is it a fatherhood bonus? A pay gap of 17% between female and male parents is just too high.

We need our parents to be paid fairly – so that in turn they can provide for our children and look after them well. A gap of this size (or for that matter, of any size) is unacceptable. As a country we need to be doing more to bridge this gap, to create a truly equal society.

How do we change this? Flexible working arrangements, improved parental leave (including the encouragement of men to take parental leave) and education and training for women could all help to bridge this gap. Being aware of potential discrimination by employers against mothers is important too. This may be an unconscious bias that is deeply rooted in our culture and the way that Kiwi’s view women and mothers.

The National Council of Women are working to drive a cultural change towards gender equality and are keen to collaborate with like-minded organisations to help bridge this gap and rid New Zealand of a ‘motherhood penalty’.

The National Council of Women would like to congratulate the Ministry for Women and Statistics NZ on the release of this report. Any information that can help us to understand and ultimately bridge this gap is welcomed.

It’s also important to note the limitations of this report – while it provides some information into the gender pay gap and in particular, the gap between mothers and fathers, there is further work to be done on why this gap exists. It is only when we better understand the why that we are able to make specific actions to bridge this gap, to bring mothers and fathers to an equal footing in the work place and to ultimately create a gender equal New Zealand.

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