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Friday, 24 May 2019 01:00 am

Hundreds turn out to back ‘shameful’ protest

Jun 24th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Multimedia, News

THE need for a protest to address the issue of pay parity for women was “shameful”, several hundred demonstrators heard on the steps of Parliament.

“I can’t believe it’s 2009 and we’re back here and we still have to protest for something as simple as getting a fair wage,” Students’ Associations co-president Sophia Blair told the crowd, who braved wintry weather to protest against the government’s decision to shut the Labour Department’s employment equity unit.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said there was growing concern around the Government’s plans to cut the unit.

It would do nothing to close the pay gap between male and female workers doing the same work or being undervalued in female-dominated jobs like the work done by school support staff.

The rally was part of a wider campaign – organised by the Pay Equity Coalition – involving several women’s groups and a number of union groups and the Students’ Associations. 

The motif chosen for the campaign is the symbolic $10 note (with the value reduced to $8.80) featuring Kate Sheppard, who won the right for women to vote in 1893.

An announcement Minister of Women’s Affairs Pansy Wong was unable to attend the rally was met with booing and collective shouts of “shame”.

The gathering, made up of only slightly more women than men, waved flags and held placards, collected signatures, and cheered on the various speakers, which included Labour spokesperson for Women’s Affairs Sue Moroney, Green spokesperson for Women’s Issues Catherine Delahunty and New Zealand Institute of Education member Lewellyn Sumenko-Bucknell.

Some Wellington businesses were offering a 12% discount to women in show of support for the rally and pay equity.

The Department of Labour employment equity unit was set up in 2004 by the Labour government to address the gender pay gap in the public service, with the focus on work public health and public education.

A protest rally was also held in Auckland.

NewsWire photographer CARL SUURMOND was there:

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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  1. Very nice Carl, if i hadnt known i would have thought you where a fully quilified journo already:)
    Keep up the good work bro….

  2. I for one carl feel that this article was well presented and this indicates how wise you are and believe that your talent was just not tapped during stay in other fields for survival.This is good stuff keep it up.
    Luwi Buchike

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