Skip to main content

Treat Her Right!

photo: Jinki Cambronero

New Zealand women are coming together in a New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Campaign, to tell the government that it’s time to ‘Treat Her Right’ and enforce New Zealand’s Equal Pay Act, passed in 1972. The campaign’s just started, with a remake of the Donna Summer video and song She Works Hard for the Money. It will culminate on International Women’s Day, 8 March.

Loren Taylor photo: Jinki Cambronero
Directed by Loren Taylor — one of New Zealand’s many accomplished actor/writer/directors, perhaps best known for her role in Eagle vs Shark — She Works Hard for the Money features a range of Kiwi comedians, personalities and members of the public. It was shot by 2016 New Zealand Cinematographer of the year Ginny Loane (Mahana).

Ginny Loane and crew photo: Jinki Cambronero
One of the comedians involved, Alice Brine, says “New Zealand used to be a progressive country in this area and we’re banking on that branding. But you can’t just rely on Kate Sheppard forever [New Zealand was the first country in the world where women won the vote and Kate was the most prominent member of New Zealand’s women’s suffrage movement]. You actually have to look at the data. It’s pretty shocking. We need to live up to our standard of being the ‘progressive’ country we once were.”

Here’s the data. Truly shocking. And especially shocking if you’re a Māori, Pacific or Asian woman.

From Statistics NZ’s Income Survey 2014, via Campaign for Equal Value Equal Pay

Miriama McDowell (Mahana, Dark Horse, Outrageous Fortune) plays ‘everywoman’: the cleaner, the childcare worker, the aged care worker in the campaign. She says, “I felt like I’m playing every woman who has ever been underpaid. In every scene I shot I thought of a different person who I know who isn’t valued for the work they do. My sister, my friends, my aunty, my Nana, all of the people through the generations are who we’re doing this for. We’re speaking for them and it’s a real honour.”

photo: Jinki Cambronero

The way the women put together the video was generous and beautiful.

A call was put out for women of all ages and employment to come and join in a massive dance scene for the video, shot in Auckland one week before Christmas. Over 400 women responded to the call with many travelling from Hamilton, Wellington and Whakatane to join the throng. New Zealand celebrities who donated their time and their best dance moves to the project include actors Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Miriama McDowell, Dave Fane (Gary of the Pacific, Bro’ Town, Sione’s Wedding), Laura Hill (Westfield, Shortland St), Luciane Buchanan (Filthy Rich), Jackie Van Beek (Funny Girls; and director of Inland Road, premiering at the Berlinale this week).

Because Loren and Ginny were involved a huge amount of support came from the film community. Ginny found time in her busy schedule the weekend before Christmas and donated her time and her gear to the project, which was close to her heart. The almost entirely female crew attracted support from Panavision who donated gear, and Exit Films, Rebel Fleet and NZDVA who supplied discounted gear. Gaffer Karl Sanders and Hugh Williams discounted their labour and gear rate while most of the crew charged a discounted rate to be involved. Paloma Johnson and Briar Vivian created the wardrobe and received an exceptional amount of deals and discounts on the wardrobe supplies.

Crew photo: Jinki Cambronero

Unit manager Angelina Perkinson donated her time to the project after completing a 60 hour week as she wanted to contribute what she could to the cause, “I just believe this is really important. There’s a lot of us who work really hard and we often find the money’s not correct, all of the time. We’re all here bringing what resources and skills we have to highlight the working conditions of other women.”

Loren Taylor says “We were literally overwhelmed by the generosity and the willingness of people approached to bring their time, their resources and their energy to the project. For the big dance scene we had embalmers dancing alongside teachers, bakers, construction workers, lawyers, mothers, artists, politicians. It was a real celebration and an opportunity for those with the time and resources to highlight an issue which affects all women, particularly those who are often struggling between two or three jobs so don’t have time or energy to fight for equal pay rates.”

So, take a look at the video.

And why not sign up for the campaign?


Treat Her Right


Original Donna Summer video — the inspiration


Popular posts from this blog

#Cannes2017 Excludes #WomeninFilm Who Bring Their Children

Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir’s track record is pretty impressive.

She has written, directed and produced over sixteen films. One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema and Variety’s Arab New Wave, two of her films have premiered as Official Selections in Cannes, one in Venice and one in Berlin.

Annemarie’s short film like twenty impossibles (2003) was the first Arab short film in history to be an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and continued to break ground when it went on to be a finalist for the Academy Awards.

Her second work to debut in Cannes, the critically acclaimed Salt of this Sea (2008), went on to win the FIPRESCI Critics Award, and garnered fourteen other international awards including Best Film in Milan. It was the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman and Palestine’s 2008 Oscar Entry for Foreign Language Film.

Her latest film When I Saw You won Best Asian Film at the Berlinale , Best Arab Film in Abu Dhabi and Best Film in…

'Water Protectors', by Leana Hosea

Leana Hosea's Water Protectors isabout ordinary women in Flint, at Standing Rock and on the Navajo reservation who have had their water poisoned and are at the forefront in the movement for clean water.

Water is a big issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, too– the degradation of our waterways; drinking water contamination; the offshore sale of our pure water; the debate about Maori sovereignty over water, under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/ the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840.  Partly because this has raised my awareness about the significance of access to water, my heart is absolutely with the women in Leana's work. And with Leana, editing through the night as I write this.

Leana is a reporter/producer for BBC's World Service Radio and has held many other roles within the BBC. As a highly experienced multimedia journalist she's originated ideas, fixed stories, written scripts, filmed and edited them.

She was a shoot/edit/reporter/producer for the BBC in Egypt during the revoluti…

Safety in Paradise?

Children play in safety on the beach beyond my window. Some aren't safe at home, but they do not die in rocket attacks. Along our promenade, this year’s most sustained sirens wailed from motorbike cavalcades, as they escorted royalty to and from the airport. At school, our children may arrive hungry. But they're safe from abduction. The closest I’ve ever been to a war is my parents' silence about 'their' war, refuge women's stories about men returned from wars and Bruce Cunningham’s stories, after I met him selling Anzac poppies. (He was a Lancaster pilot in World War II and then a prisoner-of-war and I’m making a short doco about him.)

Yes, in many ways Wellington, New Zealand is paradise and I’m blessed to live here and to benefit from love and generosity from women and men, my beautiful sons now among those men. But in an interview with Matthew Hammett Knott earlier this year, I found myself saying–
We have to deal with serial violation, direct and subtle, on…