Pay equity starts with you: #justask

Women are paid less than men across the world. Even in New Zealand, women earn $0.88 to every $1 men earn*.

The causes are complex. About 20% of the current gender pay gap can be attributed to differences in education, specific occupations and industries, and the fact that women are more likely to work in part-time employment**. So what about the remaining 80%? Factors like conscious and unconscious bias play a large role, impacting negatively on women’s recruitment and pay advancement**.

Jo Cribb (the former CEO of Ministry for Women), who coaches women and runs a consulting business helping organisations sort out their diversity issues, has founded a #justask campaign which aims to help close this gap. It encourages employees to ask employers if women are paid the same as men in their organisation.

“There is a missing piece needed to close the gender pay gap, and that is pressure from employees – employees wanting to know if women are treated fairly in their workplace,”  Jo says. Evidence shows that pay transparency can make a difference. “We – both men and women – can help close the gap by asking one simple question ‘are women paid the same as men in our organisation?’ We all need to just ask.”

Watch Jo Cribb’s Tedx Talk on the #justask campaign:

Employers aren’t the only people who can help close this gap – everyone can play their part. Ashley Sadler, Business Manager at Madison Recruitment, discusses how her organisation have worked towards being objective and created a fair, equitable and measurable candidate selection process that is free of bias.

“At Madison, we achieve this by having a structured recruitment process, with a set of psychometric tests that can measure verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning, and a suite of technical tests covering over 200 technologies. Every team member is trained to administer them and we have three resident consultants to independently interpret the results.”

At Trade Me we're focused on ensuring we have no pay gaps or pay equity issues. Annie Brown, our Chief People Officer says: “We started by reviewing remuneration for our tech roles and found no evident gender bias. Next we’ll do this across all our non-tech roles and match these to an external database. We'll do some deeper analysis to ensure there are no gender biases across Trade Me.”

What can you do?

You can help close the gap by asking your employer about the possibility of a gender pay gap. Some employers won’t know, but asking the question could encourage them to find out.

Fear of backlash and taboos around talking about money can make asking hard. Here are some ideas to help you overcome these:

  • Ask in a group.  Get a group of men and women together and ask.

  • Get someone to ask on your behalf. Ask your manager to ask on your behalf.

  • Find out more. Many organisations are looking into gender pay equity – find out what others are doing and what worked for them.

  • Use Jo Cribb's Tedx Talk and #justask as a prompt. "Have you heard about the #justask campaign?"

Want to know more?

Check out the following resources and organisations:

  • Profesionellespecialises in developing highly relevant, tailored offerings for women keen to progress their careers.
  • Global Womenbrings together changemakers at every level and helps develop women leaders through their leadership programmes, insights and resources.
  • Ministry for Womenprovides career advice and a forum for women to share their career experiences.
  • National Council of Women NZ – working to build a gender equal New Zealand and is currently running the Gender Equal campaign.
  • Catalystglobal NGO that helps drive change with pioneering research, practical tools, and proven solutions to accelerate and advance women into leadership. Catalyst also provides Tool to help people have meaningful conversations about gender, race, and ethnicity in the workplace.

Ministry for Women, "Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in NZ", 2017

** http://women.govt.nz/work-skills/income/gender-pay-gap

*** http://women.govt.nz/work-skills/income/gender-pay-gap/research