Women students alarmed at widening gender pay gap
The recently released New Zealand Income Survey, showing a widening gap between the income of men and women, is of great
concern to women students and is evidence that New Zealand still has some way to go in achieving equity in the
“These statistics demonstrate a reversal of previous trends that showed a slow but steady reduction in the gender pay
gap, and this is very concerning,” said Karen Price, National Women’s Rights Officer of the New Zealand University
Students’ Association (NZUSA).
The New Zealand Income Survey shows that pay for men in both full time and part time work increased significantly more
than pay for women. Overall, the gender pay gap has increased, with women now earning on average only 82% of men’s
earnings, compared to 86% in 2004.
“The repercussions of this widening gender pay gap will have far-reaching effects. Women’s ability to manage student
loan debt will be impeded, as will retirement savings rates, and women’s ability to provide adequately for their
families may suffer,” said Price.
This latest survey follows the University Graduate Destinations 2004 report by the New Zealand Vice Chancellors’
Committee, revealing lower average salaries for female graduates. This was despite female students graduating in greater
numbers than males at all levels of tertiary study, and in all age and ethnic group bands. This ongoing prevalence of
the gender pay gap is evidence of the continued undervaluing of women’s work generally.
The Government must immediately address these inequities. New Zealand needs a strong Pay Equity Commission and must
implement thorough pay equity policies. We also call on Government to provide a fully funded public education system to
address the profoundly inequitable and negative effects of user-pays tertiary education,” said Price.
The New Zealand Income Survey is conducted annually as a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey during the June
quarter (April to June). For further information: