Equal Pay Awards 2018 Winners Announced

Five of New Zealand’s leading businesses and one outstanding individual have been named as the winners of the fifth annual Equal Pay Awards tonight,  alongside proud sponsors; AUT, Coca-Cola Amatil NZ and SKYCITY Entertainment Group.

 Wednesday 7th November 2018 – Vodafone and the former Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue have been recognised as champions of equal pay in the 2018 YWCA Equal Pay Awards.  The new Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Karanina Sumeo, acknowledged their work and that of other finalists in her keynote address which outlined the Commission’s work to ensure fair treatment for all New Zealanders at work and in everyday life.

Saunoamaali’I Dr Karanina Sumeo, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission said while we needed to reflect critically on why systemic inequality still existed for women in the workforce, many businesses were committed to changing the status quo.

It is great to see so many businesses taking bold action to end gender inequality. They are setting an example for other New Zealand businesses of what can be achieved when businesses recognise their responsibilities to uphold the basic human right to equal pay for equal work,” she said.

The Supreme Award was won by Vodafone New Zealand who also took out the Leadership Award. Vodafone New Zealand’s Human Resources Director, Antony Welton said his team were “beyond ecstatic to receive this award as acknowledgment of our leadership in Equal Pay”.

He said that their company believes that creating a more gender inclusive workplace and championing equal pay will benefit all New Zealanders. “Our ambition is to be the best employer of women by 2025, and to help us achieve this we are focused on gender balance and on pay that is free from discrimination as the foundations of equal pay for women” he said. 

The judging panel were very impressed with Vodafone’s excellent improvement in return to work statistics through their Re:Connect initiative which the judges described as very innovative.

They described their award entry as a coherent and clearly described set of actions and activities that looks at leadership both internally to the organisation and externally through a wide range of campaigns.

YWCA Auckland Acting Chief Executive, Kat Doughty says that expanding the award categories in 2018 has encouraged more companies to enter and has also seen many companies enter for the first time. “The diversity of sectors and organisation size represented this year shows that New Zealand employers recognise that a commitment to equal pay is a critical advantage for retaining and recruiting female staff and for ensuring a more inclusive workplace culture for all ” she says. 

The Champion Award which recognises an outstanding individual driving equal pay in an organisation was awarded to, Dr Jackie Blue. In 2018 she represented New Zealand at the United Nations CEDAW (the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) calling for the NZ Government to step up its work to address the marginalisation of women in the workforce and incorporate the principle of equal pay for equal value in legislation.

Dr Blue also fronted the Human Rights commission $600K Gap Campaign which highlighted that women earn $600,000 less on average than their male counterparts over their working life. The judges described Dr Blue as having been instrumental in driving positive change for women in her role as the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

The Innovation Award was won by Guardians of NZ Superannuation with the judges commenting that the evidence of the Crown Entity’s redesigned leave and benefits programme speaks for itself. Staff described this as a progressive and thoughtful package in keeping with the approach of the whole organisation towards addressing their gender imbalance and their everyday employee experience.

Auckland Museum won the Community Award for publicly demonstrating their commitment to pay equity - using their role as a museum and cultural influencer to spark debate through their Suffrage 125 exhibition "Are We There Yet?". Their entry data indicates strong employee loyalty and the positive impact of pay equity initiatives in the working environment.

Genesis Energy showed a comprehensive approach to changing workplace attitudes about gender and pay. They won the On The Journey Award with judges applauding their education and coaching of team leaders around unconscious bias, salary negotiation, consideration of individuals, paying for value and the size of the role.

Equal pay was also shown to power staff engagement and retention at Meridian Energy whose annual reporting and award entry impressed the judges of the Progressive Award. They loved the open visibility of the company’s equal pay journey via stories on the intranet and their entry provided strong evidence of the link between pay equity, staff engagement and financial performance.

On 3 September 2018, Statistics NZ announced that the official gender pay gap was 9.2 percent.

This is the second-smallest gap since the series began 20 years ago. In comparison, the gender pay gap was 9.1 percent in 2012 (the lowest on record) and 9.4 percent last year. While the gap has closed over the past 20 years, on average women in New Zealand are still paid less for an hour’s work than men.

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

 Suzanne McNicol

 Communications Advisor, YWCA Equal Pay Awards

 suzanne@akywca.org.nz or +64 21 466 907

Notes to Editors:


The Innovation Award celebrates innovative responses to addressing the equal pay gap.  The judges are senior business leader Rob Campbell, Professor of Economics at AUT University, Gail Pacheco and Chair of The Mind Lab, Frances Valintine.

Finalists: Real Journeys and NZ Super Fund (WINNER)

The Community Award acknowledges that profit-for-purpose or not-for-profit organisations have unique pay challenges compared to the private sector. The judges were Chief Executive of Philanthropy New Zealand, Tony Paine with REMNET Chairperson, Kathryn Greene, and YWCA Auckland President, Andrea Vujnovich.

Finalists: Youthline  and Auckland Museum (WINNER)

The On The Journey Award recognises a milestone achievement by an organisation, which has just begun to embark on its equal pay journey. The judges were General Manager – Northern Consulting, Strategic Pay, Michelle Gapes, Chief People Officer at Air New Zealand, Jodie King and co-founder of My Food Bag, Theresa Gattung.

Finalists: KPMG, Opus and Genesis Energy (WINNER)

The Progressive Award recognises organisations who have demonstrated commitment to Equal Pay and continue to make sustained advances and improvements to address the issue.  The judges are CEO of the Institute of Directors, Kirsten (KP) Patterson, General Manager of People and Culture at Coca Cola Amatil, Susan Lowe and General Manager of Human Resources at Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Jo Copeland.

Finalists: Air NZ, Auckland Council, Meridian Energy (WINNER)

The Leadership Award celebrates companies who understand the benefits of workplace gender equality and are leading the way for others to follow. The judging panel is human resources expert, Dr Keith Macky, Director at South Pacific Pride Ltd, Martin King, and Claire Walker, Group General Manager of Human Resources at SKYCITY Entertainment Ltd.

Finalists: Auckland Museum, Air NZ, Fonterra and Vodafone (WINNER)

The 2018 Champion Award recognises an outstanding individual driving equal pay in an organisation. The judges were Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women, Renee Graham with Dellwyn Stuart of the Auckland Foundation’s Women’s Fund and ANZLF Indigenous Business Co-Chair, Traci Houpapa.

Finalists: Nicola Richardson, Genesis Energy. Susan Doughty, Fonterra. Jo Cribb, #justask. Dr Jackie Blue, former HR Commissioner. (WINNER)