The Council of Trade Unions has declared that Kiwi women are ‘working for free’ until 2020. Did anyone tell the women of New Zealand this? I’m sure anybody, regardless of gender, would pack up and go home if they were really working for free – so what is this all about?

It is about the Gender Pay Gap, an idea being pushed by some that Women aren’t being compensated fairly for the work they do, and make no mistake – it is a myth, but it’s a persistent myth being promoted in a bid to introduce socialism by stealth. The pay gap is typically calculated on total incomes and disregards all other factors than gender. No accounting for experience or productivity, and often not even accounting for the number of hours worked. And recent studies have even shown that among some age ranges women actually get paid more than men.

According to Rachel Mackintosh, “The gender pay imbalance in the average wage is 11.9 per cent. From November 18 there is 11.9 per cent of the year left,” suggesting that from this date until the end of the year the pay gap is equivalent to women receiving no remuneration. Looking at Stats NZ, it looks like they are calculating the gap based on hourly median pay, so points there for not using annual incomes like many, however it also appears that there is no accounting for different jobs or industries, at all.

So it seems that Stats NZ is coming up with a 12% gap figure without any consideration for the type of work being done, what industries jobs fall under, experience required, or anything else. Effectively what is being asked is that all jobs are paid equally across the board, regardless of skill level or experience required. The statistics available don’t go down to the level you’d need – for example in the category of health you have Surgeons, Specialists, hospital doctors, orderlies, health workers, GPs, and nurses all lumped in together. Is it really being suggested that those should all be averaged and used to dictate pay? and the fact that on average nurses get paid less than IT workers being used to demand more pay for nurses?Nursing is a valuable profession and they probably do need to be paid better, but comparing to another industry altogether is simply absurd.

To say that women are working for free from 18 November is disingenuous. If you look at the stats then males in the 20-24 age group in Education and Training make 90c on the dollar compared to females ( figures from http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx ), and in Health for that same age range median male pay is $20.73 compared to $24.01 for females. How about in IT, where that age group of women have a median of $26.37 compared to men at $18.02. Are those women working for free from November 18? When you break down the figures to look at who’s getting paid what for the same job the gender pay gap unravels, and in many cases is actually reversed.

As you go up in age ranges there is a trend visible in the data showing higher median hourly pay for men, but that is accompanied by a much greater increase in weekly income – suggesting that there is an increasing split in full-time and part-time as age increases. Full-time jobs are generally more important to an organization so are paid better, and if those jobs are more often filled by men due to the differences in priorities that are well established, are you still comparing the same jobs? Stats NZ doesn’t go into the detail for part-time vs full-time by industry.

If the numbers are crunched and it turns out that women and men doing the same job are being paid differently then sure, do something about it. But the numbers are looking such that if you did an unbiased analysis and properly accounted for the factors that influence pay then you’l likely find that no real gap exists, except perhaps an advantage for women in some sectors that has been created in the rush to “fix” the supposed gap.

Equal Outcome is a myth that is doomed to live on in the minds of the arrogant – those who think that previous failures were because those people “didn’t do it right” and who believe that they can do it better this time – the supreme confidence in their own abilities to the point where logic and history can be ignored, this time it won’t be a failure! Until it is.