(Is it a lipstick? Is it a dildo?)
Thanks to Pantograph Punch, on 15 September, corporate rock star Theresa Gattung, healthcare trailblazer Ranjna Patel, ballet-chairing banker Anne Blackburn and good-sport token bloke Rob Campbell will be telling Janet McAllister how we can smash the gender glass ceiling into smithereens. Here are five questions they won’t need to swot for, according to event organisers McAllister and Rosabel Tan.
1. Is there really a difference between where men and women end up?
We’re not asking this one because obvs. In 2016, men run all 50 of New Zealand top 50 listed companies and women run none of them. In 2012:
- Fewer than 30% of judges were women, women occupied fewer than 25% of senior academic staff roles, and only 20% of top legal partnerships.
- Nine government departments had more than a 20% gender pay gap, including Treasury and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
- Two companies in New Zealand's top 10 had no women on their boards and “no excuses”. Women held fewer than 15% of private sector directorships.
These statistics are from 2012 because that was the last time the Human Rights Commission released its biennial New Zealand Census of Women’s Participation.
2. Wait…doesn’t biennial mean “every two years”?
Yes it does, and before you use up another question, yes 2012 was four years ago and yes, we should be deeply concerned that this report hasn’t been published since. The 2012 Census of Women’s Participation noted that “women’s substantive equality appears to have vanished as a policy driver”, that official target setting for women’s progress in New Zealand is “weak” and that the United Nations are concerned that poor targets and slow timeframes “may be a symptom of regression rather than progress in women’s representation.”
Perhaps the Census disappeared because those things are true, or perhaps it disappeared because it pointed out that those things are true.
3. But aren’t we, like, doing pretty well compared to other countries?
New Zealand came 10th in last year’s Global Gender Gap Index, which takes into account four main ways gender inequality can manifest: in economic terms (including pay and employment), educational attainment, political empowerment (looking at who’s got the power in parliament), and health.
In 2010, we were 5th, and we’ve been steadily slipping down the scale. Why?
4. Is that a question?
No, because that is something we’ll be asking the panelists (FYI, on the economic participation and opportunity gender gap index, we came in 30th).