A new preliminary study which reviews the participation of women and men in the ICT industry is calling for an urgent investigation into sexism, ageism and their combined impact in the sector.
Dr Amanda Lynn of Mandolin Associates conducted the study that explored data supplied by Statistics New Zealand from the Household Labour Force Survey of 2017.
Although women do the same work as their male peers and offer the same value, only about a quarter of the workforce in ICT is female.
At 55 years of age, the numbers of both men and women in the ICT Industry falls sharply, with the remaining women being paid less than their male peers, the report finds.
“We need to know who is being excluded from the industry, who leaves early and why, and why pay parity is lost. Sexism doesn’t explain everything, ageism must also be explored,” says Lynn.
Completed this week, the preliminary study makes two recommendations:
- That substantive investigation of ageism, sexism and their combined effects on both men and women in the ICT Industry be undertaken as soon as possible.
- And that coherent policy, strategy and interventions be put in place to target equity of participation in the ICT Industry, and pay parity for all participants across their life span.
This recent study follows a more substantive analysis of New Zealand’s digital economy by Lynn last year. This report found that New Zealand must address equity between itself and other nations, and within New Zealand, to ensure fair access to the benefits of the digital economy for all New Zealanders.
Lynn says the current Government is taking digital inclusion very seriously, wants to see real change by 2020, and is assembling a Ministerial Advisory Group to provide expert guidance.
“There are women in every ethnic and socio-economic group, and every person ages. New Zealanders can expect to live 87 years.”
“If they are ejected at 55 from the high wage economy, or underpaid despite being as productive as everyone else, more than 30 years of dependency on the public purse could ensue.”
Lynn concludes, “Yet if everyone has equal chance to participate, and equal reward, no one will lose. International studies show that the whole economy will grow as equity grows.”