The Working Women’s Resource Centre is an Incorporated Society, set up in 1984 for the benefit of working women.

The aims of the Centre are:

  • To encourage unions to become more responsive to the particular needs of working women
  • To encourage women to join unions and press their unions to represent their needs as workers
  • To alleviate discrimination in employment in order that women may gain economic and social equity
  • To be a voice for women in lobbying Government to promote women’s issues.
  • To have women empowered to press Government to represent their needs.

We provide advice on problems at work:

  • Dismissal
  • Minimum pay rates
  • Parental leave
  • Discrimination
  • Work-related injuries and illnesses
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Community Organisations
  • Which Union you could belong to

We provide:

  • Courses on your rights at work
  • Sexual and other harassment prevention procedures
  • A guide to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987
  • Seminars on legal issues for women

We also have pamphlets, posters and information about:

  • Trade Unions
  • Parental Leave
  • Child Care
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Health and Safety
  • EEO
  • Pay Equity
  • Living Wage
  • Holidays and Pay entitlements
  • Employment Relations Act

The goals of the Working Women's Charter


  1. The right to work for everyone who wishes to do so.
  2. The elimination of al discrimination on the basis of sex, race, marital or parental status, sexuality or age.
  3. Equal pay for work of equal value – meaning the same total wage plus other benefits.
  4. Equal opportunity of entry into occupations and of promotion regardless of sex, sexuality, marital or parental status, race or age.
  5. Equal education opportunities for all.
    1. Union meetings to be held in working hours
    2. Special trade union education courses for women unionists to be held with paid time off for participants.
  6. Equal access to vocational guidance and training, including on the job training, study and conference leave.
  7. Introduction of a shorter working week with no loss of pay, flexible working hours, part-time opportunities for all workers.
  8. Improved working conditions for women and men. The retention of beneficial provision which apply to women. Other benefits to apply equally to men and women.
  9. Removal of legal, bureaucratic and other impediments to equality superannuation, social security benefits, credit, finance, taxation, tenancies, and other related matters.
  10. Special attention to the needs and requirements of women from ethnic communities as they see them.
  11. Wide availability of quality child care with Government and/or community support for all those who need it, on a 24-hour basis, including after school and school holiday care.
  12. Introduction of adequate paid parental leave (maternity and paternity leave) without loss of job security, superannuation or promotion prospects.
  13. Availability of paid family leave to enable time off to be taken in family emergencies, e.g. when children or elderly relatives are ill.
  14. Sex education and birth control advice freely available to all people. Legal, financial, social and medical impediments to safe abortion, contraception and sterilisation to be removed.
  15. Comprehensive government funded research into health questions specific to women.

The Law

The Human Rights Act 1993 protects you from being discriminated against by your employer at work. Discrimination includes being treated unfairly or less favourably than another person in the same or similar circumstances, because:

  • You are a woman
  • You are pregnant
  • You wish to have children in the future
  • You have responsibility for children or other dependants
  • You are married or single

The Act says it may be against the law for an employer to discriminate against you, based on the above reasons, when you apply for or are interviewed for a job or when you are working.

It is NOT against the law for your employer to give you favourable treatment because you are pregnant or have responsibility for children or other dependents.

Applying for a Job

Even before you get a job, employers cannot discriminate against you because you are a woman. Job advertisements cannot say that a job is suited to a certain gender.

During interviews or on job application forms employers cannot ask a question in which they may intend to discriminate, such as question about:

  • Whether you are single, married, divorced or have a boyfriend/girlfriend
  • If you have children or other people you look after
  • If you plan to have children later on
  • If you are using birth control
  • At Work

When you are working, employers cannot discriminate against you because you are a woman.

Generally it is against the law for an employer to:

  • Refuse to assign you certain tasks because you are a woman
  • Pay you less money for doing the same work as other staff who are men
  • Refuse to promote you because you are a woman
  • Sometimes sex discrimination is allowed, such as required the model for men’s clothes to be a man.

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome or offensive sexual behaviour that is repeated or significant enough to have a harmful effect on you. If it happens when you are working it is against the law.

Work and your Family

Many women have family responsibilities which affect their working lives. If your employer fails to accommodate your family needs or makes demands on you that are unreasonable and affect your family responsibilities this may be against the law.



Harassment is not behaviour based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect. If the behaviour is consensual and welcome, it is not harassment.

Some examples of sexual harassment could include:

  • Pin-ups, calendars, screen savers, emails etc of a sexual nature
  • Rude gestures, innuendo or comments
  • Unwelcome or offensive physical closeness or touching
  • Unwelcome comments on clothing, body or physical characteristics
  • Threats or promises base on sexual favours

Sexual harassment is behaviour of a sexual nature that is:

  • Unwelcome and offensive
  • Verbal, physical or visual
  • Repeated or serious and affects someone’s employment, job performance or job satisfaction

Stop before it starts by:

  • Not tolerating sexual harassment on your worksite
  • Making sure your worksite has clear sexual harassment prevention policies, procedures and training for everyone
  • Setting up a sexual harassment prevention network which includes contact people and a co-ordinator
  • A contact person is an elected representative who acts as a support person for people who have a query or complaint about sexual harassment
  • The co-ordinator is the person responsible for ensuring that policies and procedures are in place on the worksite
  • Training the co-ordinator and contact people
  • Encouraging workers to report any incidents of sexual harassment

If you want information about sexual harassment contact one of the following groups:

Employment Relationship Services
0800 800 863

Working Women’s Resource Centre
027 485 3471

Human Rights Commission
0800 496 877