Of course women are equal I immediately respond but do I really think about equality or do I just assume women are equal in this great country? Perhaps there are some real discrepancies that we are, frankly, too busy to think about?
Dr Judy McGregor, EEO Commissioner spoke candidly at a Victoria University staff event celebrating suffrage day this week and she had some interesting points to make. Firstly she asked us to consider:
• Would New Zealand be the first nation-state today to grant women’s suffrage?
• What is the household chore that most reminds you that you are a woman (that you would like to do less of ?)
Then she went on to celebrate some amazing successes for women this year such as acknowledging the Christchurch women who have quietly led aspects of the recovery without fanfare; the medal girls at the Olympics and the Paralympics and the older women who keep organised civil society groups afloat. Noting along the way that some of the rowing female medal winners were not given sponsored cars on their return as their male counterparts were and what is it with younger women not giving so much to fight for our equal place in society through established networks and organisations. She pointed out that in fact women are being short-changed re target setting by government, business and public and private sector organisations and there is slippage occurring after period of incremental growth in terms of working towards equal pay for women. Is this due to the faint voice of women’s protest?
This talk did get me thinking again and quite annoyed at the fact we haven’t yet got equality of pay. It also got me thinking about the chores (too many) I do in my household but is that partly my tidy personality and the fact I have kids to look after… nevertheless I mustn’t fall into the trap of doing too much of that! Here at Vic Careers I don’t get any sense that women think they are any less capable than men, that they would expect to earn less and in first graduate jobs from an undergrad degree, it all appears pretty equal, although that is not always the case immediately after postgraduate degrees. Remember, as you progress in your career to always check there is no difference in salaries or bands on the basis of gender. As the National Equal Opportunities Network (Neon) states ‘New Zealand has not yet achieved equal pay, pay equity, (equal pay for work of equal value) or equal opportunities for women.’ For men and women, this is something to think seriously about.