I fully support the International Women’s Day 2019 theme that a balanced world is a better world.
While New Zealanders will be among the first in the world to celebrate and amplify this theme today – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter – the global campaign to encourage action continues all year long. And rightly so.
In our Public Service, chief executives have committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects, understands and values the communities we serve. This includes making sure women can participate at all levels.
Having a strong representation of women in leadership is one of the most visible ways to demonstrate a commitment to gender balance, and getting more women into senior leadership roles is one of our priorities. We’ve achieved balance at the chief executive level – now we need to turn to other senior leader levels.
It’s great to see the number of women in senior management roles continuing to increase, sitting at 49 percent in mid-2018 compared with 38 percent in 2008. And the aim is for women to hold at least 50 percent of leadership roles in the top three tiers of the Public Service by the end of 2019.
With all chief executives signed up to a plan to substantially reduce the Public Service gender pay gap in the next two years, we can expect to see some very real improvements in this area too. Agencies are backing this commitment with a raft of actions. These will make sure that flexible work becomes the norm for women and men, women are paid what they are worth, and other human resource decisions are free of gender bias.
International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women. But it’s also a chance to challenge ourselves to do more to help achieve gender balance … in work places and across our society.