Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Pay Equity Faxathon - March 6th!

We've been talking rather a lot here about pay equity in the last week or so, since the new Government axed the roll-out of pay equity investigations across the state sector. And talk is good. Hopefully we all feel like we've had a good rant.

But as all activists know, anger needs to be turned into action. We can talk about how annoyed we are in our own circles until the stars fall from the sky, but really we need to communicate our ire to the politician who can reverse this decision.

So here's one modest opportunity for you to do something for the good of all woman- (and man-)kind, around the issue of pay equity. I promise you'll feel better once you've done it.

The idea is this:
On Friday March 6th send a fax to the Minister of State Services, Tony Ryall, who cancelled the pay equity investigations, expressing your dissatisfaction. His office fax number is 04 817 6504.

You could even have a little morning tea* at your work about it (seeing as how it is International Working Women's Day on Sunday March 8th) and get your workmates to sign the fax too.
And lo and behold we just happen to have a Pay Equity Faxathon PDF you can use to facilitate this outcome (pictured to the right in this post, click through for the full size version. If you cannot get it to work please feel free to email me via my profile and I will email it back to you.) Thanks so much to Anita of Kiwipolitico who not only transformed it into a PDF for us, she also arranged the hosting at her place. Gotta love a bit of that inter-blog solidarity!

For those who don't have access to a fax machine, here are some alternative ideas:

1. Email - you could email Mr Ryall and let him know your opinion on the matter, or send him a photo of your signed fax:
2. Post - you can freepost (don't bother with a stamp) your fax to him, or send him a letter:
Tony Ryall
Minister for State Services
Parliament Buildings
If you do take a photo of your fax, maybe with your workmates who signed it, or around the fax machine as you send it off, do feel free to send email it to us too (you can find my email in by clicking through from my profile on the sidebar).

I have heinously stolen this idea from a union member of my acquaintance who is planning to do it within her own organisation. I figured it couldn't hurt to get it out there more widely - the more faxes going to Mr Ryall saying women are worth it the better!

If you hear of any other activity happening around this issue please let us know so we can promote it too.

More on recent pay equity stuff here - Because we're worth it: Pay Equity Hub

Update: More recent news on the Faxathon can be found here. And much gratitude to the wonderful readers who set up a Facebook event for the Faxathon off their own bat.

* Or afternoon tea, or lunch, or elevenses, or second breakfast. I advise against doing this over Friday drinkies however. I understand faxes with gin splashes can clog up the machine.


Kate Sutton said...

The Handmirror Ladies are so incredibly great. I will be faxing!
Looking forward to seeing you at the handmixer

Deborah said...

Julie, if you keep on organising events like this, you're going to lose your claim to being a "faux-feminist." ;-)

Idiot/Savant said...

I have to ask: who uses faxes anymore?

Fortunately, there's always email.

Julie said...

Thanks Idiot Savant, really glad I wasted my time now. Most workplaces that I have encountered have a fax. And as the point is to get your workmates to sign that seemed like a logical way to do it. And I have included non-fax options above. Perhaps I should just do nothing?

Sincere thanks to Kate and Deborah.

And yes I am grumpy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

Thank-you so much for doing this. My colleagues and I have been really concerned about this issue for quite a while but we were unsure of what to do until we came across your blog.

I hope you don't mind but we've made it an event on facebook so our friends can get info about it. We've put in lots of links to your blog throughout the event post. I hope that's OK.

Thanks again for organising this.

stargazer said...

i/s, emails are just so easy to delete, much easier to ignore than a whole bunch of faxes coming through. i remember being told by a minister that i'd have a greater chance of getting through to him by snail mail than by email.

so good on ya julie. i think faxes are the way to go!

Julie said...

Anon at 7.01pm, thank you so much! You have honest to goodness made my day :-) I'll blog more about it over the weekend (to go up Monday probably), and include a link to the Facebook event then, but in the meantime here it is for anyone who would like to RSVP their fax-appeal.

Swimming said...

If you haven't got a fax machine or dont want to use email - and you are in Wellington - you can always set up a meeting in town and all turn up to Bowen House Reception ask to deliver it to him. Imagine if 400 people did that at the same time! Like 12:30pm Friday 6 March.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. I currently live in London and hate the idea that I might come back to NZ in a couple of years only to find that wage equality has moved backwards instead of forwards! Will be sending an email (cos can't send an international fax from work) and will hopefully be able to convice my kiwi friends in London to do the same!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps those without fax machines could try the free trial at

Fax Over Internet Protocol. Probably more attention grabbing than email.

Or if you just want to send text, you could try
That site relies on volunteers, so may not be reliable, but it's free.

Anonymous said...

It's true! Feminists are no friends to the environment!

Fax away everybody!

Julie said...

Thanks for the info about the efaxing random lurker, that's very helpful.

So what is the sustainable, environmentally friendly way to communicate your political voice anon? We've discussed in the thread some of the difficulties of email.

Dave, thank you for your suggestion. I'm not in a position to organise a protest at the moment, particularly at the other end of the motu, but hopefully someone will do something along those lines and let us know so that we can promote it :-)

Anonymous said...

What a snore-fest. Don't pay people more just for the sake of it. Give me solid examples of a man and woman doing the exact same job and one getting more than the other and you have a solid legal challenge. Otherwise you all sound like pathetic whingers. Snap out of it and go for a better job. Man up and stop acting like losers and victims - it's embarrassing.

stargazer said...

solid example phil: research put out by judy mcgregor of the human rights commission showing that women law graduates, on average, earned $5,000 less than their male counterparts. this is their first job, when child-bearing/rearing should not have had an impact.

and taking positive action through a campaign like this is not whinging. whinging is when you come and whine on someone else's blog about how you can't see there's a problem, because you're too lazy to do any research or inform yourself before commenting.

Anonymous said...

Love it! You don't have solid examples and so use a "report". Why don't you go out there and actually FIND a real life example.

Whining is fine, I'm ok with that as it hurts your cause. But show some real evidence for goodness sakes.

Anna said...

For crying out loud, Phil and Mary-Lou - what do you think research is, except a big bunch of examples of the gender pay gap?

You seem to be arguing that pay discrimination doesn't happen because you personally don't know anything about it. I don't entirely understand how traffic lights work, but I don't pretend they don't exist.

Why this hostility to equal treatment for women? Are there any other groups you like seeing treated unfairly?

And sorry this is a snore-fest for you, Phil, but believe it or not, your entertainment isn't the first concern of people with an interest in social justice. Guess we need to revisit our priorities.


Anna said...

Dave, that's a clever idea ... I'm going to ponder it.

Anonymous said...

Still don't see any examples.....

Are any of the bloggers here current victims of pay inequity?

Don't get me wrong, everybody should be paid equally. But I dispute that this is as wide ranging as you make it out to be. I have worked in places with over 800 employees in all stages of management and entry levels... and there was no such gaps. I consider myself a worldly woman... but I haven't seen this gap.

Enlighten me.

Anna said...

Mary-Lou, I think that if you were actually interested in the answers to your questions, you'd read some research on pay equity. You seem to think that if pay equity research doesn't mention specific names of women being discriminated against it must be telling lies (although if you want individual names, you could look at the Lily Ledbetter case, NZ's own Caitlin Lewis or the well-known Air New Zealand case. Somehow, though, I don't think you will).

I'm not sure how you worked out there was no pay inequity in your workplace of 800 people. To know that, you'd have to have analysed the hours worked, prior qualifications, previous work experience, pay rates and rates of progression for all 800 people. You'd also have to know the proportion of men and women in each different occupation within the workplace, and the skill categorisations of each occupation.

There's actually a global consensus that pay discrimination exists. Do the think the UN and the OECD have got it wrong?

Anonymous said...

Or I could have worked in payroll and HR and deduced that not one of my colleagues were paid on a "male rate" or "female rate" :>

I didn't argue that there was no inequality, but it is far and few between. I am shocked that we're still facing this after 9 years with Helen in charge. And why this wasn't an issue when they were in Govt, but suddenly an issue when the Nats are in?

I am a little sceptical...but whatever floats you boat.

Julie said...

Because Labour were working on it. Far too slowly for my liking, but still better than National stopping the investigations all together.

I think we need to turn the question around. If National aren't going to continue with the pay equity investigations what are they going to do to address the significant pay gap between men and women?