Happy International Women's Day!
What is international women's day?
Put simply, it's a day to celebrate women.
International Women's Day is described by the United Nations as 'a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political [or at least that's the goal!]. You can read here about how the day has developed out of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe, starting with women garment factory workers protesting in 1908 in New York against their working conditions.
What is happening in NZ for international women's day?
The CTU has called on the Government and all employers 'to commit to ensuring all women, regardless of industry, are fairly paid, have decent and safe workplaces…It's time for the Government to change its mindset. Start recognising, accounting and paying for the real value of women's work'
But given we know that women employees in NZ are not on an equal footing, and are instead being paid on average 14% less than men, with Māori and Pasefika women being even less, let's use this women's day for action…
Things that all of us as PSA members (including delegates and all genders) can do to raise awareness about gender pay inequality:
- Print off this Worth 100% equal pay poster and stick it everywhere you can think of in your workplace (yes, everywhere! Chief Executive's forehead might be a good spot).
- Get your colleagues together to do the gender pay quiz - download and print off as many sets as you have teams for, lay out all the questions and answers, and get the teams to match them up.
- You and your colleagues could buy a few packs of toffee pops (or any round biscuit), and give men a full biscuit while giving women a biscuit with a roughly 14%-sized portion cut out of them. You could also give out a Māori or Pasefika sized one, with a portion of 28% and 33% respectively cut out of it.
- If you and your colleagues feel like baking, one PSA Women's Network member recently found that handing out giant and small sized muffins (giant going to the men, and small going to women) was a discussion-provoking way of making a blunt point about inequality. Even smaller ones for Māori and Pasefika women would also make a point.
- Any gender pay inequality sceptics in your workplace? Ask them to read this and watch John Oliver's excellent clip , which deals with some of the common arguments about gender pay equality - just note his humour may not be for everyone!
- Have you ever thought what might happen if women put in proportionally less effort to our work until the pay gap is closed? This YouTube clip offers some humorous ideas that could act as a discussion starter with your colleagues and managers.
- Sign up as a PSA Equal Pay Advocate on the PSA website and to the PSA Women's Network (all genders welcome), and look out for our regular updates.
- Get active in and/or support your PSA bargaining teams to get gender pay inequality addressed in your Collective Employment Agreement.
- If you are a delegate, ask that a standing item on the meeting be equal pay, and give an update on the activities.