At this point we're pretty much all aware of the discrepancy in pay among men and women. But if you think social inequity is the cause, well, you're way off. According to Alasdhair Thompson, Head of New Zealand Employers and Manufacturers' Association, the wage gap exists because women get their period. When discussing a new bill that would allow for salary transparency and let employees access information about pay rates across their workplace (you know, to make sure they aren't being discriminated against on the basis of gender or race), Thompson had this garbled statement to say:
"Women [take the most sick leave] in general. Why? Because once a month they have sick problems, not all of them but some do. They have children that they have to take leave of, therefore their productivity…(it's) not their fault. It may be that they have not got it sorted with their partners where the partners take more responsibility for what happens outside work."
Isn't it lovely how he refers to a natural cycle as a "sick problem"? But even with sick days taken into the equation the pay gap is still shown to exist, so this kind of sexism and blame on Aunt Flo (how often do women take sick days come that time of the month anyway?) really isn't cool, especially in a country as progressive as New Zealand. Following harsh criticism — the current Minister for Employment and Social Development, who happens to be a woman, said Thompson "sounded a bit like a dinosaur" — he's since apologized.