Recently we’ve been working with our friends at YWCA Auckland to help encourage participation in the Equal Pay Awards.

Given that New Zealand was the first country in the world to see women obtain the right to vote all the way back in 1893, it’s hard to believe that we’re STILL having a conversation about equality. 

But the stats spell it out for us. Today, women are paid 14% less than men in New Zealand. And, if we continue at our snail-pace rate of change, it will be more than 90 years before we achieve equality.

We can’t wait that long!

And, it’s not just the stats that tell us things aren’t good enough. We only need to scan Facebook to see that there are constant limitations being put on women. Our female leaders are criticised and challenged for their fashion choices or the sound of their voice, rather than their policy or their actions. Women are sexualised daily; no matter our age. And, there is a constant language and attitude that minimises women, and undervalues their worth; we’re ‘bossy and emotional’ rather than ‘assertive and passionate’.

We know we’re not the first to notice how unfair this is. There are so many organisations, causes and voices making themselves heard in this battle for equality. But yet, the inequality continues.

So here we are, proudly walking alongside YWCA to share the wishes, the wonderings and the commitments of the voices of our future. We’re challenging everyone to create a fairer future for us all.

A future where men and women are valued equally. Where limitations are removed. Where men or women can choose to parent or be the bread-winner. Where our families, our economy and our society are all stronger.

We all need to make the changes that we can. We need to change the language that we use. We need to teach our girls their worth. We need to ensure that our boys and girls believe that they can be anything, and that we back them up by removing both real and perceived barriers.

Like all of the people entering the awards, like the young people making their voices heard, like the team at YWCA Auckland, I wish for a fairer future.

And, I believe that we can pick up the pace. Let’s close this pay gap, and open up the opportunities for us all.


Eddy Royal