Pay equity protest street dance a 'celebration', but still a way to go
A flash mob has rolled out synchronised protest dance moves to demand equal pay for women, with backing from early 80s disco hit She Works Hard for the Money.
The Palmerston North protest on Saturday morning was "celebratory" and launched the new lobby group, Pay Equity Coalition Palmerston North, convenor Lisa Wilde said.
A group of about 70 marched from outside The Plaza shopping centre to George St, chanting for "equal pay now". They then busted out the group dance with air guitar riffs and salutes, outside the City Library.
"We're asking for equal pay for work of equal value," Wilde said.
"Research shows there's still a gender pay gap in New Zealand, across all professions. It impacts most on Pasifika women, Maori women, women who do low paid roles, and men who do roles traditionally seen as women's work – often caring positions."
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Low pay rates for women also disadvantaged their children and families, and tackling the issue would help do something about child poverty in New Zealand, she said.
Among the protesters, Dion Martin said he joined the march because he believed equal pay was an important issue for everyone, and that men should actively show they were supporting their "sisters".
The protest is part of the first ever "week of action" by the newly formed national Pay Equity Challenge Coalition. It includes pre-existing groups from Wellington and Auckland, and new "hubs" launched this year in Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson, Hamilton and Whangarei, as well as the local group.
"So far it's been led by trade unions, but now we want grass roots support from individuals and community groups - this is everybody's fight," Wilde said.
The positive vibe celebrated the April announcement of a $2 million package to address pay inequity in the aged care sector after a landmark legal test case.
On August 10 the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill passed a first reading in parliament on August 10 by one vote. However, Wilde said the bill will make it harder for women to achieve fair and equal pay.