New Zealand has a broad strategy to support how women’s contribution across the labour market is appropriately valued. This includes legislative change, closing the gender pay gap in the Public Service, and encouraging the State and private sectors to take action. Specific goals New Zealand is working towards are:


  • Proposed amendments to the Equal Pay Act 1972 that aim to address the undervaluation of work traditionally undertaken by women. This follows a landmark court ruling that the legal interpretation of equal pay includes work of equal value in different jobs. Signalled increases in the minimum wage from 2018 – 2020 will benefit the 60 percent of minimum wage workers aged 16-64 who are women.


  • Broad Gender Pay Principles that aim to ensure that working environments in the State sector are free from gender based inequalities, that all employees can achieve their potential regardless of gender, and that gender pay gaps are eliminated. The principles include accessible and transparent employment and pay practices, freedom from bias and discrimination, and the collective establishment of sustainable solutions to gender pay inequalities. The Government is interested in seeing the Public Service lead the way in closing the gender pay gap.



  • Improving understanding of the drivers of New Zealand’s gender pay gap. The Ministry for Women has led this research, and has developed resources to encourage employers to take action on gender pay gaps in their organisations, including guidelines on measuring and analysing organisational gender pay gaps.



New Zealand appreciates the co-learning opportunities that EPIC presents, and is interested in other countries’ experiences of what is most effective in closing gender pay gaps.

New Zealand values the opportunity to share and discuss its research. For example, recent research in New Zealand showed that 80 percent of our national gender pay gap is caused by ‘unexplained’ factors, which points to the need to address bias and discrimination. Our 2018 research, Parenthood and Labour Market Outcomes, shows that parenthood remains highly gendered in New Zealand, and that child care responsibilities have long term impacts on women’s participation in paid work and their lifetime earnings.

We know that different countries measure gender pay gaps differently and that labour markets and social norms vary considerably from country to country. These differences impact on the gender pay gap and the levers each country has to effect change.

New Zealand applies an evidence-based approach to policy and implementation, and values any opportunity to share knowledge between countries. We are happy to contribute to and learn from the EPIC website as an easy access point to an international knowledge base.