Labour History

Historical Developments in the Gender Pay Gap in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Longitudinal Employment Relations Critique

Labour History (2022), 122, (1), 107–130.

Abstract

The road to gender pay equity in Aotearoa New Zealand has been long and circuitous. Progress over the past 70 years with campaigns, legal cases and regulatory changes have ebbed and flowed. New Zealand’s gender pay gap at 9.5 per cent is comparatively small, reflecting significant gains in gender pay parity in the public sector following the introduction of a series of equity initiatives. Yet gender pay parity remains elusive for many. Analyses of pay equity have tended to use economic, feminist, social history or equality approaches to frame their focus, with the employment relations context rarely referenced, despite its political, policy and practical significance. Adopting an integrated political economy model, this article examines historical developments in gender pay equity, and argues for the integration of formal equality regulation, workplace initiatives and supporting campaigns to yield substantive change and sustained progress.

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Author details

Parker, Jane

Donnelly, Noelle