Announcing the Winners of YWCA Equal Pay Awards 2017


New Minister for Women commends 2017 equal pay employers 

Hon Julie Anne Genter names winners of the YWCA Equal Pay Awards 2017 alongside proud sponsors; AUT, Coca-Cola Amatil NZ and SKYCITY Entertainment Group

Thursday, 9th November 2017 – Beverage company, Lion and the Human Resources Director of law firm, Simpson Grierson have been recognised as champions of equal pay in the 2017 YWCA Equal Pay Awards.  The Minister for Women, Hon. Julie Anne Genter acknowledged their work and that of other finalists in her keynote address which outlined the Government’s vision to close the gender pay gap in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is proudly taking action on women being paid fairly. Organisations and businesses honoured tonight have shown what can be achieved when people take action to close the gender pay gap. Congratulations to award winners for being leaders. Every single employer in New Zealand can learn from these solutions and hopefully will use them in their own workplace,” Minister Genter said.

Award winners also included AECOM winning Silver (among Silver category finalists KPMG, Meridian Energy, Sovereign, Vector and Vodafone) and Magic Memories winning Bronze (with Auckland Council also a finalist in this category).

YWCA Auckland Chief Executive and Awards judge, Monica Briggs, says that the high standard of entries in the Gold category made it impossible for the judges to name one organisation as a winner of the Gold award. Lion’s entry was awarded a special commendation, with Briggs commenting that, “We were very impressed with the level of internal communication, the desire to innovate and the visibility of Lion’s CEO as an advocate for equal pay. Likewise, the personal commitment and drive shown by Jo Copeland at Simpson Grierson distinguishes her as a passionate campaigner for equal pay.”

After an initial analysis and audit in 2016 revealed a gender pay gap of 3.2%, Lion made a courageous decision to address this immediately. In New Zealand, they made pay adjustments to a significant number of employees, of which 59% were women.

“We take equal pay seriously at Lion so when our 2016 review of gender pay showed that we had a 3.2% gap, we took immediate action to close it. Our work doesn’t stop there – we’re continuing to analyse our pay data every year, and review our processes to ensure that we maintain pay equity”. Robin Davies, Lion NZ’s People & Culture Director.

A special, individual commendation was also awarded to Simpson Grierson’s Human Resources Director, Jo Copeland, who has been a true champion of equal pay in 2017, proactively sharing the law firm’s learning curve via speaking engagements and media articles, and courageously sharing her own personal experiences to help guide young women who may face challenges in the workplace.

“As lawyers, we believe in natural justice. For us, having a 0% gender pay gap is a very important manifestation of our commitment to that principle. It is fundamentally the right thing to do. It’s as simple as that,” Ms Copeland commented.

The judges were elated to see such diverse organisations competing for the top prize. YWCA of Aotearoa NZ Co-President and Awards judge, Susan Doughty, believes that this shows that employers from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors are leading the way for others to follow. “The diversity of sectors represented this year demonstrates an increased appetite to tackle equal pay among New Zealand employers across the board,” she says. “In the public sector, Department of Corrections has made significant inroads into creating an inclusive workplace with a specific focus on equal pay, reducing their overall pay gap to 1.5% across their 8500 staff.   Each are to be acknowledged for their outstanding achievements” she added.

The Silver winner was AECOM, whose hiring policy ensures an equal playing field for new graduates who all join the company on the same starting salary. The judges were overwhelmingly impressed with the strategic focus that AECOM has applied to encouraging more women into the industry as it is this type of long-lead thinking that will close their gender pay gap.

The Bronze category was claimed by international tourism firm; Magic Memories, who are on a fast-paced journey to addressing their commitment to equal pay within their diversity and inclusion strategy and have undertaken substantial analysis in a very short time.

The 2017 Awards has seen a further increase in entries from the telecommunications, electricity and financial management sectors. Sovereign, Meridian Energy, KPMG, Vodafone and Vector also joined the ranks as finalists, showcasing their company’s diversity and inclusion programmes to their peers and sector partners.

On 1 September 2017, Stats NZ announced that the official gender pay gap was 9.4 percent. The New Zealand gender pay gap is calculated from Stats NZ’s New Zealand Income Survey, using the difference in median hourly earnings of men and women and includes part-time and full-time workers. (The inclusion of part-time workers explains the higher gap when compared to the OECD’s gender wage gap. As one in three New Zealand women work part-time it was agreed to include part-time workers.)

In 2017, the median hourly earnings for men was $25.49 and $23.02 for women.

The gender pay gap has reduced since 1998 (16.3 percent), but has stalled in the last decade.

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The YWCA Equal Pay Awards 2016 judging panel included:

  • Claire Walker, Group General Manager Human Resources, SKYCITY Entertainment Group
  • Gail Pacheco, Professor of Economics at Auckland University of Technology
  • Graham Robertson, General Manager, People & Technology, Coca-Cola Amatil NZ
  • Monica Briggs, Chief Executive, YWCA Auckland
  • Susan Doughty, Partner People Advisory Services, EY and YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand Co-President

For more information, images or interview opportunities, please contact:

Suzanne McNicol
Communications Advisor
YWCA Equal Pay Awards
or +64 21 466 907

Thank you to IWPG for the letter of appreciation.


Our CEO Monica Briggs sent a special message to those attending the 3rd Commemoration of the WARP Summit, which took place on 17-19 September 2017, Although we could not make it to the event, it was an unprecedented event gathering people from all over the world with one goal, that of paving the way for world peace. There was a big focus on the collaboration of governments and civil society organisations in order to implement peace-related activities and create change.


Thank you to IWPG for the appreciation letter. Check out the letter below and also the outcomes from the summit.

Appreciation letter.



Recruiting for Board Treasurer Role



YWCA Auckland is part of the world’s largest women’s organisation, a global network of 25 million women leading social and economic change in over 120 countries worldwide. With a proud heritage of providing community programmes in Auckland for 130 years and delivering our vision to “not rest until every woman is able to fulfil her potential”, YWCA Auckland are passionate advocates of young women’s economic and social development, and what we do makes a real difference in New Zealand women’s lives.

Our Vision: We will not rest until every woman is able to fulfil her potential.
Purpose: Driven to give women the opportunity to realise a better future.
Essence: Because every woman deserves choice
Values: Pioneering, Integrity, Diversity, Respect and Passion


We are seeking to recruit a young woman (under the age of 30) to the role of Board Treasurer with strong skills in all aspects of financial management; accounting, financial strategy, grants and fundraising, budgets, and compliance.

The Treasurer chairs our Finance and Risk Committee and must be a financial member of YWCA Auckland – .

Constitutionally, our Board composition must include at least 2 women under 30 years of age, so we are seeking someone to join our other young woman member.

Please send a CV and cover letter to Brigette Watkin at by 12pm on Friday, 8 September 2017.


Please do not hesitate to contact Brigette if you would like to receive a copy of the position description for this role.

Embrace the sea change, Employment Today 2017


Our CEO and Claire Walker, Judges of the Equal Pay Awards 2017 both discussed the issues businesses must grapple with following the landmark TerraNova settlement. Check out their piece in Employment today.


Click here for Page 1 and Page 2.





Friday 21st July 2017 – The initiators of the New Zealand’s Equal Pay Awards, YWCA Auckland are backing yesterday’s announcement by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women Paula Bennett of a plan to address New Zealand’s gender pay gap.

YWCA Auckland runs the YWCA Equal Pay Awards, marking its fourth annual campaign in 2017. The Awards programme invites New Zealand businesses to prove how fair they are by applying for a YWCA Equal Pay Best Practice Compact, or entering the full Awards, depending on how much progress a business has made on its own equal pay journey.

The Ministry for Women spoke to 26 large companies about their experiences and what they’re doing to close the gap, with twelve companies releasing their profiles publically.

Monica Briggs, Chief Executive of YWCA Auckland and judge of the YWCA Equal Pay Awards, is thrilled to see that previous winners of Equal Pay Awards, ANZ, EY and Youthtown are receiving further recognition from the Ministry for Women as exemplars of best practice in equal pay

“These organisations and others such as SKYCITY, Westpac and Simpson Grierson are inspiring other businesses to address their gender pay gap through positive action and measurable change” says Briggs. “Business role models are a great step towards addressing the New Zealand equal pay gap which currently sits at 14% based on average hourly earnings”.

Monica Briggs is encouraging companies who have started to address the gender pay gap in their organisations to enter the 2017 Equal Pay Awards. “You might be a listed company responding to the new NZX Governance Code for Diversity or an SME business looking to build a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent. Whatever your motivation in tackling your gender pay gap, we know that previous Award participants have benefited greatly from sharing their strategies with other businesses”, she says.


Entries for the 2017 YWCA Equal Pay Awards and Equal Pay Best Practice Compact close on Friday, 15th September. Award winners will be announced at a special ceremony on Tuesday, 9th November in the Auckland CBD.


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For more information, images or interview opportunities, please contact:

Suzanne McNicol on or +64 21 466 907

To learn more about the 2017 YWCA Equal Pay Awards and Equal Pay Best Practice Compact entry details and criteria, visit


















L-R: Renee Graham, CEO of Ministry for Women, Paula Kearns, CEO Youthtown, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women, Paula Bennett, Susan Doughty YWCA Auckland Chair and Monica Briggs, YWCA Auckland CEO)


PDF Version of press release. Click here


YWCA Auckland programmes receive generous support from...
  • Auckland Council

    ASB Community Trust
  • Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust

    Lottery Grants Board
  • Perpetual Guardian

    Skycity Auckland Community Trust
  • The Lion Foundation

    The trusts charitable foundation

YWCA of Auckland New Zealand

+64 9 522 8219