'A letter to Jacinda Ardern' - Sienna Williamson (Year 10)
(editor: We don't normally publish letters like this, but it has been an election year, and this was a great letter)
Dear Jacinda Ardern,
I am writing this letter to thank you for the Labour Party’s commitment towards pay equity. As a young women, I want to live in a society where I know my gender will not affect my wages and I’m thrilled that the Labour party is committed to making this happen.
I know that the Labour party is already dedicated to scraping and reforming the unjust Pay Equity legislation but I’m writing today to ensure that making wage transparency part of that new bill is a priority for Labour.
As you know, the gender pay gap is at 12%, according to the New Zealand Government. The pay gap between mothers and fathers is even higher at 17%. As well, industries and occupations dominated by female workers tend to be lower paid. This pay gap exists largely because of unexplained factors such as bias.
I strongly believe that wage transparency will help New Zealand to achieve pay equity. Wage transparency means that employees have access to information regarding their colleagues’ wages and what they’re worth. This allows people to be aware of and address gender pay inequality, leading to a fairer pay system. Wage transparency will also make pay negotiations easier because New Zealanders will have factual reasons and comparisons to base their pay negotiations on. Who doesn’t want an easier wage conversation with their boss?
Some people may try to convince you that pay transparency leads to employee dissatisfaction and will be detrimental to business. However, pay transparency is actually linked to higher employee performance and satisfaction, and decreased turnover costs. This is because employees usually quit if they suspect that they are being underpaid. Increased employee satisfaction leads to increased productivity which, along with decreased turnover costs, is lucrative for businesses.
Overall wage transparency is a vital tool in ending the New Zealand gender pay gap and should be a part of Labour’s new Pay Equity legislation.