August 31, 2015

Gender gap

As I’ve noted in the past, one of the big components of the remaining gender pay gap is lower pay for jobs that attract more women. I thought this was an issue where direct action would be infeasible. Maybe not.

Two New Zealand groups are now trying to target this, as described by Kirsty Johnson and Nicholas Jones in the Herald. When trying legal action, midwives and education support workers have the advantage that their wages are set by the government.

Having set wages for a large group gives the case someone to target, and it also weakens the counterargument based on individual differences. I don’t know whether this sort of claim is likely to succeed under NZ law, or what the impact would be if it did. I don’t even known whether success is desirable. But it’s an interesting approach to a real problem.


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »


  • avatar
    Steve Curtis

    Link Mps pay to midwives ?
    It does seem to me that a court case would rely on a lot of comparison of different pay rates/incomes for different occupations using statistical methods.
    One thing based on the limited information available , their business expenses seem very high as a proportion of their income for the type of service, it could be of course that the overall income is too low as well.
    Do they have extra income if they have a birth centre as opposed to using a hospital,

    2 years ago