Issue date
30 June 2022

Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan was launched today by Minister for Women Jan Tinetti – with the goal of ensuring New Zealand is a great place for women to work.

The Minister, and the development of Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine, were supported by the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women: Traci Houpapa (Chair), David McLean, Bernadette Pereira, Theresa Gattung, Angela McLeod, Jade Tang-Taylor, Alison Mau, Ariana Paul, Katherine Rich (Business New Zealand representative), and Erin Polaczuk (CTU representative). 

“This Government is committed to improving women’s working lives. The current reality is that women have different experiences in the world of work than men, and change is needed,” Jan Tinetti said.

Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine features immediate, medium and long term actions to address barriers to women’s employment actions. 

“The facts prove that women are more likely to earn less per hour, do more unpaid work, and work part time and be underemployed compared to men,” Jan Tinetti said. 

“Female-dominated industries are often lower paid, and women are more likely to take breaks from the workforce to raise children. Altogether, this adds up to a huge difference in earnings and wealth between women and men.  

“This plan provides actions to improve employment pathways for women who are marginalised at work, particularly wāhine Māori, Pacific women, young and older women, disabled women, women who are former refugees and recent migrants, and women in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“Manatū Wāhine and NACEW will be engaging further with wāhine Māori and Pacific women to identify training and employment solutions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and provide opportunities to retrain and have access to employment,” 

“Further actions contained within the strategy include work underway across Government to implement fair pay agreements and to investigate pay transparency following the recommendations of the Education and Workforce Committee. They also include monitoring Kia Toipoto, the action plan for the public service to close the gender pay gap, and Te Orowaru, the pay equity work assessment tool, with a view to applying these tools to the private sector,” Jan Tinetti said. 

 “This new Action Plan is another tool in our Government’s toolbox as we secure our recovery and support Aotearoa New Zealand to become a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy,” Carmel Sepuloni said. 

“Our Government’s overall Employment Strategy values the importance of improving people’s wellbeing through work and unlocking their potential to take up employment. 

“We know however that to achieve this, we must continue to address barriers to employment and ensure we’re doing all we can to ensure people have the support they need to grow their skills, advance their careers and access decent, stable work,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Unemployment rates for wāhine Māori (7.1%) and Pacific women (7.0%) remain over twice as high as for European women (2.9%); underutilisation rates for wāhine Māori and Pacific women remain higher than for European women.

Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan is one of the employment actions plans that fall under the all-of-Government Employment Strategy, and is the last to be launched. This Strategy seeks to ensure all New Zealanders can fulfil their potential in developing skills, finding secure employment, and engaging in rewarding careers. 

Read Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan.

Find out more about the key groups of women in Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhineand the engagement that informed its direction.