Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh wins Equal Pay Award

14 Nov, 2019
Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh wins Equal Pay Award
Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh

The YWCA has announced its winning workplaces for women at its Equal Pay Awards, presented on 12 November. AUT Senior Lecturer Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh was named champion of equal pay alongside organisational winner Chorus.

Four of New Zealand's leading businesses and one outstanding individual have been named as the winners of the sixth annual Equal Pay Awards, alongside sponsors; Strategic Pay, Coca-Cola Amatil NZ and Sky City Entertainment Group.

Their achievements and those of other finalists were acknowledged in video messages at the awards by the Prime Minister, Right Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Minister for Women, Hon. Julie Anne Genter and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Saunoamaali'I Dr Karanina Sumeo.

Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo said it was encouraging to see our leading businesses make conscious and bold efforts to address gender equality, equal pay and to promote diversity and inclusion.

"So many of our local businesses, both large and small, are identifying key areas that need urgent action by setting targets and measures, sharing their learnings and rethinking their employment processes to embed social responsibility in their organisations."

"These efforts will continue to empower New Zealanders and ensure basic human rights to equality and dignity are realised in the workplace," she adds.

Y Auckland Chief Executive, Dellwyn Stuart says the awards play a critical part in closing New Zealand's gender pay gap. "Some companies such as Chorus are making great progress in this area – they know that embracing diversity – including attracting and retaining a range of women in the workforce – is critical for successful organisations. The number of new entrants and new sectors represented in 2019 is promising and shows the impact of our past winners who have set and met gender pay targets for others to follow" she says.

The Champion Award which recognises an outstanding individual driving equal pay in an organisation was awarded to AUT Senior Lecturer and Founder of She Sharp, Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh.

Her work addressing the gender imbalance in STEM fields and raising awareness of the importance and value of diversity and equality in technology has impacted thousands. She founded She Sharp as a non-profit women's networking group in 2014 to provide encouragement, support, and learning for women in the STEM field, and those considering joining it. She Sharp runs 8-10 networking and development events each year for high school girls, female tertiary students and professionals from within the industry.

On 3 September 2019, Statistics NZ announced that the official gender pay gap was 9.3 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 9.2 percent in 2018. 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.

AUT was a finalist in the One The Journey Award, which recognises a milestone achievement by an organisation, which has just begun to embark on its equal pay journey. The judges are General Manager – Northern Consulting, Strategic Pay, Michelle Gapes, Head of Communications and Education for Simplicity Kiwisaver, Amanda Morrall, and AUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Andrea Vujnovich (Dr Vujnovich recused herself from judging AUT's entry).

Finalists: AUT, Neilson, Yellow and Xero (WINNER)

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