Chapter 9: The potential of gender (and intersectional) equality indices: the case of Aotearoa New Zealand's public service
Open access

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted in a multi-faceted and gendered manner on the labour market in most countries. In Aotearoa New Zealand, high-level gender indices (GIs) have broadly captured this impact, helping to inform sectoral policy reform. However, these indices seldom capture more qualitative, nuanced and connected aspects of (in)equity despite increasing labour market and workplace diversification, and more scholarly attention on how these inequities are created, perpetuated or nuanced. The need for finer-grain analysis of women’s diversity encouraged a transdisciplinary study of working women in several public service agencies in New Zealand. Experts, employees and managers in the sector participated in in-depth interviews to help generate institution-specific gender indices which can be used alongside ‘conventional’ quantitative measures to closely assess workplace (in)equities. This study thus extends the conceptual parameters of GIs applied at national levels; provides a framework of equity considerations and (emergent) indicators for inclusion in organizational-level equity policy development; and briefly assesses meso-level equity indices with respect to the gender-responsive/accommodating/transformative or ‘gender-inclusive’ framework used throughout this volume.

  • Acker, Joan. 2006. Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations. Gender & Society 20(4): 441–464.

  • Anand, Sudhir, and Amartya Sen. 1995. Gender Inequality in Human Development: Theories and Measurement. Human Development Occasional Paper No. 19. New York: United Nations Development Programme.

  • Bardhan, Kalpana, and Stephan Klasen. 1999. UNDP’s Gender-related Indices: A Critical Review. World Development 27(6): 985-1,010.

  • Benería, Lourdes, and I-aki Permanyer. 2010. The Measurement of Socioeconomic Gender Inequality Revisited. Development and Change 41: 375–399.

  • Branisa, Boris, Stephan Klasen, and Maria Ziegler. 2009. New Measures of Gender Inequality: The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) and its Subindices. Discussion Paper No. 10. Courant Research Centre—Poverty, Equity and Growth. Göttingen: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

  • Branisa, Boris, Stephan Klasen, Maria Ziegler, Denis Drechsler, and Johannes Jütting. 2014. The Institutional Basis of Gender Inequality: The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI), Feminist Economics 20(2): 29–64.

  • CEVEP (Coalition for Equal Value, Equal Pay). n.d. What is the Gender Pay Gap? https://cevep.nz/Gender%20pay%20gap/gender%20pay%20gap.htm.

  • Charmes, Jacques and Saskia Wieringa. 2003. Measuring Women’s Empowerment: An Assessment of the Gender-related Development Index and the Gender Empowerment Measure. Journal of Human Development 4(3): 419-435.

  • Cueva Beteta, Hanny. 2006. What is Missing in Measures of Women’s Empowerment? Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 7(2): 221–241.

  • Dijkstra, A. Geske. 2002. Revisiting UNDP’s GDI and GEM: Towards an Alternative. Social Indicators Research 57(3): 301–338.

  • Dijkstra, A. Geske, and Lucia C. Hanmer. 2000. Measuring Socio-Economic GENDER Inequality: Toward an Alternative to the UNDP Gender-related Development Index. Feminist Economics 6(2): 41–75.

  • Diversity Works New Zealand. 2020. New Zealand Diversity Workplace Survey 2020. https://diversityworksnz.org.nz/media/4187/0420-diversity-survey-report-hr.pdf.

  • Donnelly, Noelle, Jane Parker, Julie Douglas, Katherine Ravenswood, and Ruth Weatherall. 2018. The Role of Middle Managers in Progressing Gender Equity in the Public Service. Wellington: Centre for Labour, Employment and Work.

  • EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality). 2013. Gender Equality Index. EIGE. https://eige.europa.eu/gender-equality-index/2013.

  • EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality). 2021. Gender Equality Index. https://eige.europa.eu/gender-equality-index/2021.

  • Else-Quest, Nicole M., and Shelly Grabe. 2012. The Political is Personal: Measurement and Application of Nation-level Indicators of Gender Equity in Psychological Research. Psychology of Women Quarterly 36(2): 131–144.

  • Frances, Raelene, and Melanie Nolan. 2008. Gender and the Trans-Tasman World of Labour: Transnational and Comparative Histories. Labour History 95: 25–42.

  • Gender Equal NZ. n.d. Making Equality, Reality. National Council of Women of New Zealand. https://genderequal.nz/.

  • Gregory, Abigail, and Susan Milner. 2009. Trade Unions and Work–Life Balance: Changing Times in France and the UK? British Journal of Industrial Relations 47(1): 122–146.

  • Hall, Kara L., Amanda L. Vogel, Brooke A. Stipelman, Daniel Stokols, Glen Morgan, and Sarah Gehlert. 2012. A Four-phase Model of Transdisciplinary Team-based Research: Goals, Team Processes, and Strategies. Translational Behavioral Medicine 2(4): 415–430.

  • Heinzmann, Jessica, Anna Simonson, and DenYelle B. Kenyon. 2019. A Trans-disciplinary Approach is Essential to Community-based Research with American Indian Populations. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research 26(2): 15–41.

  • HRC (Human Rights Commission). 2018. Pacific women paid lowest in New Zealand’s Public Service, 14 December. https://archive.hrc.co.nz/news/pacific-women-paid-lowest-new-zealands-public-service/

  • HRC (Human Rights Commission). 2019. Human Rights and Well-being Need to be at the Centre of Government’s Reform Agenda. 22 January. https://archive.hrc.co.nz/news/human-rights-and-well-being-need-be-centre-governments-reform-agenda/

  • Jones, Deborah, and Rae Torrie. 2009. Entering the Twilight Zone: The Local Complexities of Pay and Employment Equity in New Zealand. Gender, Work & Organization 16(5): 559–578.

  • Jütting, Johannes P., Christian Morrisson, Jeff Dayton-Johnson, and Denis Drechsler. 2008. Measuring Gender (In)equality: The OECD Gender, Institutions and Development Data Base. Journal of Human Development 9(1): 65–68.

  • Klasen, Stephan. 2006. UNDP’s Gender-related Measures: Some Conceptual Problems and Possible Solutions. Journal of Human Development 7(2): 243–274.

  • Klasen, Stephan. 2018. The Impact of Gender Inequality on Economic Performance in Developing Countries. Annual Review of Resource Economics 10: 279–298.

  • Klasen, Stephan, and Dana Schüler. 2011. Reforming the Gender-related Development Index and the Gender Empowerment Measure: Implementing Some Specific Proposals. Feminist Economics 17(1): 1–30.

  • Lopez-Claros, Augusto, and Saadia Zahidi. 2005. Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap. Geneva: World Economic Forum.

  • McGregor, Judy, Sylvia Bell, and Margaret Wilson. 2015. Fault Lines: Human Rights in New Zealand. Wellington: Law Foundation New Zealand.

  • Melikidze, Valerim, Rachel Stancliffe, and George Tarkhan-Mouravi. 1995. Human Development Report 1995: Gender and Human Development. New York: UNDP. https://hdr.undp.org/content/human-development-report-1995.

  • New Zealand Ministry for Women (MfW). 2020. The diverse and shared experiences of women during COVID-19 and hopes for the way forward. By Dr Gillian Greer, 28 July. https://www.women.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2022-05/The%20diverse%20and%20shared%20experiences%20of%20women%20during%20COVID-19

  • %20and%20hopes%20for%20the%20way%20forward%20-%20COVID-19%20

  • Think%20Piece.pdf.

  • New Zealand Public Service Commission (PSC). 2020a. Progress Report: the Public Service Gender Pay Gap Action Plan, 1 July.

  • New Zealand Public Service Commission (PSC). 2020b. Public Service Act 2020 reforms. https://www.publicservice.govt.nz/guidance/public-service-act-2020-re

  • forms/.

  • Parker, Jane, and Noelle Donnelly. 2020. The Revival and Refashioning of Gender Pay Equity in New Zealand. Journal of Industrial Relations. 62(4): 560–581.

  • Parker, Jane, and Noelle Donnelly. 2021. Gender Equality Developments in Aotearoa New Zealand: Implications for Japan? In Corporate Social Responsibility and Gender Equality in Japan: Historical and Current Perspectives, edited by Gabriel Eweje and Shima Nagano, 225–244. Cham: Springer.

  • Parker, Jane, Amanda Young-Hauser, Janet Sayers, Patricia Loga, Seluvaia Paea, and Shirley Barnett. 2021. Pragmatic Evaluation of Transdisciplinary Research on Gender Equity in the New Zealand Public Service. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 17(1): 41–60.

  • Parker, Jane, Janet Sayers, Amanda Young-Hauser, Shirley Barnett, Patricia Loga, and Selu Paea. 2022. Gender and Ethnic Equity in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Public Service Before and Since Covid-19: Toward Intersectional Inclusion? Gender, Work & Organization 29(1): 110–130.

  • Permanyer, I-aki. 2013. A Critical Assessment of the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index. Feminist Economics 19(2): 1–32.

  • Schmid, Caitlin. 2022. Neglecting Reproductive Labor: A Critical Review of Gender Equality Indices. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 29(3): 907–931.

  • Schüler, Dana. 2006. The Uses and Misuses of the Gender-related Development Index and Gender Empowerment Measure: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Human Development 7(2): 161–181.

  • Stats NZ. 2020. COVID-19’s impact on Women and Work. Stats NZ News. 4 November. https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/covid-19s-impact-on-women-and-work.

  • Thornton, Grant. 2021. Women in Business 2021: A Window of Opportunity. https://www.grantthornton.co.nz/globalassets/1.-member-firms/new-zealand/pdfs/reports/grant-thornton-women-in-business-report-2021_ol2.pdf.

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 1990. Human Development Report 1990: Concept and Measurement of Human Development. New York: UNDP.

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 1995. Human Development Report 1995. Oxford: Oxford University Press (see also https://hdr.undp.org/system/files/documents/hdr1995encompletenostatspdf.pdf).

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2010. Human Development Report 2010: 20th Anniversary Edition – The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development. New York: UNDP. https://hdr.undp.org/system/files/documents/human-development-report-2010-complete-english.human-development-report-

  • 2010-complete-english.

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2019. Human Development Report 2019: Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, Beyond Today: Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century. New York: UNDP.

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2023. 2023 Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI): Breaking Down Gender Biases: Shifting Social Norms Towards Gender Equality. New York: UNDP.

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). n.d. Gender Development Index. https://hdr.undp.org/gender-development-index#/indicies/GDI.

  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and UN Women. 2023. Twin Indices on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality. New York. https://www.unwomen.org/sites/default/files/2023-07/the-paths-to-equal-twin-indices-on-womens-empowerment-and-gender-equality-en.pdf.

  • UNECA (UN Economic Commission for Africa). 2004. The African Gender and Development Index, September. https://archive.uneca.org/sites/default/files/Publica

  • tionFiles/agdi_book_2004.pdf.

  • Walby, Sylvia. 2020. Varieties of Gender Regimes. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 27(3): 414–431.

  • WEF (World Economic Forum). 2006. The Global Gender Gap Report 2006. Geneva: WEF. https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2006.pdf.

  • Whitehouse, Gillian. 2003. Gender and Pay Equity: Future Research Directions. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources 41(1): 116–128.

Monograph Book