Women less productive - EMA boss

Alasdair Thompson
Green MP Catherine Delahunty

Yesterday, Green MP Catherine Delahunty released a private member's equal-pay bill that she says (if it ever gets before parliament) would  "give teeth" to current employment laws by improving the ability to test for gender-based discrimination.

This morning on Mike Hosking’s NewstalkZB show, Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Helen Kelly discussed the bill with Employers & Manufacturers' Association chief executive Alasdair Thompson.

Mr Thompson jumped into the pay-gap debate with both feet, stating it was simply a fact of life that women took more sick days, and were less productive - in part because of their "monthly" problem.

Shortly after the programme, Ms Kelly called for Mr Thompson to step down, adding "Leaders spouting this sort of crap makes it very, very difficult for women to assert themselves and to suggest there might be discrimination.

"I think anybody in a public position like he is should be showing leadership, not reinforcing old stereotypes like he is."

A transcript (courtesy Kiwipolitico; audio is on ZB's website here):

Alasdair Thompson: “Let me get down to tin tacks here. It is unfortunate, if you like, that men and women are different –”

Helen Kelly: [incredulous laughter]

AT: “– they are. The fact is, women have babies, they take time out of their careers to have babies. Women have — look, I don’t like saying this, this is how contentious this is, but here’s a fact of life.

"If you really want to keep some statistics, look at who takes the most sick leave. Why do they take the most sick leave? Women do in general. Why? Because, ah, you know, once a month they have sick problems.

"Not all women, but some do. They have children that they have to take time off to go home and take leave of. Therefore their productivity — not their fault, it’s … it may be because they haven’t got it sorted out with their partners, where the partners take more responsibility for what happens outside work.

"There are all of these issues, and none of this is covered in these statistics that this bill wants to sort out. Now, I’m sorry, I don’t like saying these things because it sounds like I’m sexist, but it’s a fact of life.”

HK: “Sure does, Alasdair, I’m glad you said them, it’s fantastic. I let you go on that one.”


74 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

74 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

My bet is that the EMA dinosaur boss "AT" will be back in the job market by month's end.........

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I'm sure he is. Or he probably could be in some exotic location on a paid vacation.

<a href="http://www.guitarlessonsreviewed.com/">guitar lessons online</a>

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

As an employer (of women and men), and a woman, I am appalled that this intellectual level is accepted by an association which is supposed to represent my business interests.
Thompson should be replaced immediately if the EMA wishes to retain any credibility.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Thompson is an idiot and a dinosaur. Attitudes and beliefs like this, especially from someone in his position, hold this country back. He should offer an apology to every single woman in this country and resign immediately.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Two rubbish comments earlier. Listen to the audio with an open mind. I heard it live and felt he was bravely going where others fear to tread. He told a truth with a certain diplomacy that anyone in the working world understands. Trouble is the feminazis will be al over this like a rash.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Maybe if more men took their fair share of the parenting duties, working mothers would take less sick leave.
With regard to "monthly" illness, I think popping a pain killer is more common practice than taking sick leave - Alasdair must be assuming women react to a little discomfort in the same way men do...God knows what would happen to the economy if men started menstruating!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Man flu is bad enough!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

" God knows what would happen to the economy if men started menstruating!"

Well they wouldn't continuously bitch about it.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

For most women, their families and children’s responsibilities come 1st, 2nd and 3rd before their work responsibilities – and rightly so – however this does create the impression that their full attention is never delivered in the workplace and especially so when an issue at home is happening. Not all the time with everyone – but ask any mum during the day who has a sick child at home where she would rather be and guess what her answer is? That is if you can find a woman at work that has a sick child at home. If they could, most would drop everything to get home as quick as possible to care for their child.

The reality is the mothering instinct is so strong that she often feels immense pressure to be at home in the first place and even more so if a child is sick. Then she picks up her woman’s day / woman’s weekly gossip mag to be confronted with all the hype about having a balanced life between work and home – because her 1st priority is her children and by the very nature of being at work, conflicts her sense of duty and responsibility to the child – and the employer always loses in that race, losing productivity, continuity and a degree of certainty... all at their cost and on-going cost.

Women could not change their stance on having their children as their 1st priority about as much as they could stop the tide from coming in – but it does create conflicting area’s of responsibilities where the work place /employer loses out most times – at a cost to them in lost productivity and intermittent presence / engagement.

Factor in the grossly unfair maternity leave legislation slanted against an employer and why would an employer hire a female of child bearing age over a male or female over 50 years old, if one didn’t have to expose ones business to all the additional costs, risks and uncertainty to the business with this demographic?

Not fair. Not right. Not PC – but reality.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Couldn't agree more

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

All absolutely true but the feminazis and their fellow travellers make sensible debate on these issues impossible by going berserk as soon as any of their over developed sensitivities are challenged.

I thought Mr T was being extremely diplomatic with his phrase "monthly health issues".

A bit like describing Genghis Khan as having "anger management issues".

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Agree - and if the Unions want stats to evaluate the pay gap between male and female - simultaniously they should also look at the stats on who has the most sick days, how often and see what trends that highlights?

Afterall - equality is the name of the game and one can't make an informed decision on only half the valid stats.

Or would those trends undermine the screaming feminists ability to read evidence that doesn't match their wishes?

Maybe Saudi Arabia is right. Don't let them drive and why did we give them the vote?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Wow, you must be really unintelligent and ugly. I bet women say NO to you often.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Utter fantasy.

Women having a stronger attachment to their children than men is just about as chauvinistic as believing that women take time off every month for their 'ladybits"...

Men are not the stronger sex, women are not the weaker. Fathers love their children everybit as much as mothers!!! Get with the times.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The Neanderthals live on! These guys represent the attitudes of Fred Flintstones boss, Mr Slate. What a laughing stock. Can NBR get comment from members of the "Employers and Manufacturers Association" and perhaps track down the data and analysis underpinning the views put forward by their CEO?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

What about the truth of the matter.

Or is that not important to you ?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Resignation please Mr Thompson. Your comments are archaic and an embarrassment to your organisation.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

OK Mr Thompson - so using your logic, then gender pay should equalise when women reach aprox 45 and menopause kicks in. What an absolute twat.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Methinks those who critisise Mr. Thompson's comments almost certainly didn't listen to what he said.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Maybe all the men here should then step up and take responsibility for thir half of the responsibility for looking after their sick kids and not just dumping it on their wives and girlfriends.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

No - a woman's place is in the home - and it's been proven.

They have smaller feet by evolution - so they can get closer to the sink / ironing board / stove. They all want to get married in white - just so they can match all the other white ware - so there's ya proof!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

My feet are bigger than my husbands.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Ridiculous realitybites. Not all women have children and not all women are affected by health issues. Gross generalisations by Dinosaur Thompson.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

No, no, no -- he said "some women" but that is drowned out by the shrill shrieking of the shrewish feminazis and their SNAG supporters.

And as generalisations go, making a link between women and motherhood is entirely reasonable as 90% of women are mothers, even allowing for the Labour party leadership.

As for Helen Kelly - we saw how much sense she talks during the hobbit fiasco caused by her and her brainless thespian lackeys.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

It's frightening that people are being called 'feminazis' for putting forth the idea that women and men should get equal pay.

God help us.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

They are being called feminazis for their pathetic overeaction, ie the sort of hysteria that greets any unPC utterance from a white male.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

It all depends on what kind of jobs.....where is the fair go, guys?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

AT is living in the Dark Ages.He probably still blames Eve for tempting Adam with the Forbidden Fruit.
The statement that women take time off each month because they have periods is bigotted and sexist.
I hope AT is forced to resign from his obviously highly paid position as EMA chief executive. He doesn't deserve such a job as he does not show females respect.If he demands respect himself then he must respect others and that includes the "lowly" females.
I am female.I don't have periods and hardly take any time off sick.The ones where I work that take heaps of time off sick are the males in the warehouse e.g one has a headache etc.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Pay is, & should be, for performance & team contribution -- not for *any* other 'notional' reasons, whatsoever.

Last time I checked, men & women weren't physically equal. Let's look for the positives --

1) Let's value women's contributions, both individually & to the team,
2) Let's help & support both men & women with their families,
3) Let's talk about & manage what's actually important, rather than some false & entirely notional theories.

and:
4) Let's not shoot the messenger, for happening to speak the truth. Maybe many women have 3% less commitment, maybe (some) offer 5% better team support?
5) Let's support, pay, build & treasure what really matters.

Socialist parking-meter lady's attack has nothing to do with the real qualities that make good staff & great workers.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Well if females have monthly 'health issues' that translate to productivity issues then most men would have weekly health issues such as a hangover or a late night watching sky sport that on the same basis would translate to productivity issues...

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Some of these comments are so pc you wonder why the writers get up in the morning. AT speaks the truth, it just isnt fashionable to say so as there are so many bleeding liberals around.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

No pun intended!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

No pun intended!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The issue had nothing to do with being a 'bleeding heart liberal' - the fact is Alistair made an unfounded statement about women taking sick leave because of their periods. This is simply not true. Most women battle on and do the job regardless of this monthly condition. What Alistair is really hinting at is the anxiety men face in the workforce today. Modern women have gained greater education and independence which has enhanced their already considerable contribution to society as mothers and wives. A lesser male would be scared. I work in a male dominated industry and hold the 2nd highest qualifications in the office, and am one of the youngest. Funnily enough I am not unattractive, shave my armpits, and really enjoy the company of intelligent men. I don't take sick leave at all and it is not exceptable to have comments like this made. Women continue to excel in the modern workplace and often outshine their male counterparts. No wonder a dinosaur like Alistair is upset. I'm glad he got the sack - good riddance to rubbish and let that be a lesson to all the sexist, masoginists out there, don't hide behind your pc liberal insults - if you have mummy issues go cry to her.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The issue had nothing to do with being a 'bleeding heart liberal' - the fact is Alistair made an unfounded statement about women taking sick leave because of their periods. This is simply not true. Most women battle on and do the job regardless of this monthly condition. What Alistair is really hinting at is the anxiety men face in the workforce today. Modern women have gained greater education and independence which has enhanced their already considerable contribution to society as mothers and wives. A lesser male would be scared. I work in a male dominated industry and hold the 2nd highest qualifications in the office, and am one of the youngest. Funnily enough I am not unattractive, shave my armpits, and really enjoy the company of intelligent men. I don't take sick leave at all and it is not exceptable to have comments like this made. Women continue to excel in the modern workplace and often outshine their male counterparts. No wonder a dinosaur like Alistair is upset. I'm glad he got the sack - good riddance to rubbish and let that be a lesson to all the sexist, masoginists out there, don't hide behind your pc liberal insults - if you have mummy issues go cry to her.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

If you listen to the interview, AT simply states the truth.
He takes a big step given the PC world we are in, but its refreshing.
Why should we tread around these issues, stats are stats, facts are facts, and business is business.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Hey Listen - you have obviously been beaten to a role by a pregnant woman - or you are Alistair's son, I can hear the bitterness in your voice

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Wonder whether AT is paying all his/her employees fairly...man or single woman doing the same job.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Frankness can be refreshing in small doses.

PC Nazis ho hum.

Neanderthal comments about loss of productivity due to menstruation : poppy cock Alasdair.

How does Thompson put his brain in gear in the morning?

Perhaps two shakes of his member after ablutions at the grand ceramic recepticle in the morning.

What is the world coming to?

Here's to women with big or little feet and the tolerance to laugh at the EMA CEO.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

As the great Penny Bright would say, those that attract the most flack are the one above the target ! AT must be right on target given the reaction from Helen Kelly....

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Can't belive it, but Penny Bright's logic may apply to this situation......and jesus wept !

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

To all the people who believe someone should be sacked for saying something that they disagree with....grow a brain. It would be a great case in the employment court...

What happened to freedom of speech? All of a sudden you are only allowed to say certain things?? Maybe you should emigrate to China.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Has anyone above actually listened to the radio interview?
This whole thing is blown way out of proportion and Helen needs the reality check not Alisdair.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I heard the interview - he was dead right in his opinion - the woman on the other side must be a real "dick"

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Good reason to resign from EMA and join the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. That impressive man Michael Barnett is far more politically astute. He would never say anything so dumb. Of course, he wouldn't even think it!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I know that income protection insurance is more expensive for women because females get sick more often and for longer than male counterparts. Its just actuarial truth. The other side is that life insurance is cheaper because women live longer so perhaps they are more productive in the workforce for longer? Very silly call though on productivity based on sick leave figures alone, though I would still be interested to see those stats.

The guy has shot himself in the foot and the validity of any of his other comments by bring 4-weekly periods into the equation.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Do the facts support his arguement?
If yes then shouting abuse does not change them - nor will sacking him. If no then show the facts and watch the "burn".

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Do the facts support his arguement?
If yes then shouting abuse does not change them - nor will sacking him. If no then show the facts and watch the "burn".

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Alisdair's comments are offensive. Most women I know work far harder than their male colleagues, and still struggle to get equal career prospects. Alisdair achieved one thing though: he confirmed the wisdom of my recent decision not to renew the EMA membership for my business. Definitely won't be renewing now!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Boy - it clear like a recent case that got someone fired that most replying here haven’t even had the decency to hear the original material - mind you most don’t have the attention span to do so which is certain.
Alasdair is dead right and for once is stating something that is true - or he wouldn’t have said it. He has the facts and you moron’s don’t.
Wake up 9 years under nana Helen and you can not even think rationally anymore.
Good for you Alasdair

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I am not sure I agree with Thompson totally but how about responding to his arguments rather than decrying in horror and demanding he resign.

Women do have babies and this effects their career, no shock there. As for the period issue, seems a bit loopy but is there any actual data?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Never had a day off for my period but have had one from working a few 80hour weeks because I wasnt in the boys club so that was gender related I guess. I did work for NZ Post at the time who love this old boy!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

OK - you're a brave man!

Check out the following video re MENs versus WOMENs brains..... Just how productive are you when you retreat to your NOTHING BOX & need to often lol

http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=105471081066&comments

OR
You could read a Globally recognised neuro surgeons studies re the different blends of women & men...and associated capabiliities! You may learn something as to generalise is not the brightest - however you have provoked a hiliariously futile debate.

& if anyone needs time off work for 'whatever' reason today - as we do now live in the 20th century....unless you're older than the baby boomers, x & y generations......any mature organisation today enables employees the option to home office - increasing productivity accordingly :).

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

This unfortunate attitude at the high level against women and colored folks is still pervasive in many nz companies and business organizations and sets the tone for all other senior managers. This is part of the reason why the economy has been so sluggish for many years compared to the Australian way of life.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Totally true!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I bet Helen Kelly is just such a little sweetie and that no-one has ever been on the end of any of her attacks.

Of course AT remarks could be offensive if you let it but NZ people have had an absolute gutsful of PC and it is so refreshing to hear when a spade is a spade.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Whether its Youth Rates on Breakfast or Equal Pay Bill on Radio , this guy is a complete dick and an appalling public face for the EMA. Is he a happy clapper as well?
Last chance job for him I suspect . Next stop street preacher.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I understand he maybe a Deacon in the destiny church

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Get over it - dumb comment dumb person, not the end of the world. Much more important issues out there i'm sure. Did someone die?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Of course, he used to be Social Credit.....

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

As a husband/father I'm disappointed that people still think this way. And amazed at some of the supportive comments posted by readers.

As a CEO and member of EMA I'd hope Thompson is shown the door immediately. Totally inappropriate comment and begs the question whether EMA is out of touch with todays employers.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Signed his death warrant on National TV. What a disgrace. If you make statements, have the facts to back them up - especially if you have time to get them. The fact he didn't means they don't exist. Plonker.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Women channel the loving energy to nourish their partners, friends, families and the world. Lets appreciate the roles both men and women play in the world.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Women channel the loving energy to nourish their partners, friends, families and the world. Lets appreciate the roles both men and women play in the world.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The get out of jail free card for Thompson is the word "some".
Some people get sicker than others. That's all he's really saying here as far as I can say.
From what I know of what he's refering to, the woman I work with and the one I'm married to that do have a tough time of it monthly, get on and do a great job and actually make up the hours to maintain productivity.
In short, he wasn't wrong, but he wasn't entirly right either.
We have two kids a child with a chronic illness and if the inlaws are not around then we both have to take time of work. We have great employers that understand the situation and so long as the job gets done (service industry) they are happy.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I find it most disturbing that Alisdair Thompson is in a position of power and influence and one asssumes his comments on women are an example of his general thinking.Goodness knows what inane advice he has given to the government and his board.As his board has made no negative statement they obviously agree with his utterance

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I have to say, that he looked a bit of a drongo with the 3 reporter, on Campbell Live. Walked up and stood over her, as if he was going to dribble all over her.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Absolutely agree to the comments.

I am an employer. Everything being equal (incl pay), I would take a male over a female anytime.

Less sickies and less worries in general. Sorry to say this but it is the reality. Ask any employer & they will tell you that.

Pity EMA boss, he shouldn't have said that in public. Now, the feminazis will be all over this like a menstrual rash.

oops,

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Worse than a women on the rags is a depressed women!

They are far worse... not only do they take extra sick days but they are low performers, less productive, negative and bring others down!!

We need to rid the workplace of depressed women, they are bad for business and bad for NZ...and bad for NZ men in general.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Note that its all men who are saying there is any truth to these comments - not the women who are actually the ones in question, (as always) who actually know the facts about their own situations, who are the ones dealing with their own periods, who know how hard they work and who have only ever asked for a fair go. Enough with some old bloke like this trying to tell women what life is like or should be like for them - it is not your position to judge and its sad you have any influence in our society. A real man would say that everyone, regardless of gender, deserves a fair go.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Interestingly enough when I googled the "Agenda of the Frankfurt School"... this all made sense.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I am disgusted with all the people that have made a big deal over this, grow up! This country has clearly become inundated with too many feminists with nothing constructive to do. I encourage more men to engage in their right to freedom of speech.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Equality in the workforce has nothing to do with feminists. Every human being has the right to be paid equally in the workforce, as befitting their qualifications and experience. If the world ran according to your antiquated (morally wrong) views we would still be under Apartheid and slavery. I suggest you get educated and seek counselling so that you may better understand your misogonist viewpoint.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

above comment directed at this anonymouse comment as there are many!:

"This unfortunate attitude at the high level against women and colored folks is still pervasive in many nz companies and business organizations and sets the tone for all other senior managers. This is part of the reason why the economy has been so sluggish for many years compared to the Australian way of life."

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7276 -0.0007 -0.10%
AUD 0.9588 -0.0016 -0.17%
EUR 0.6415 -0.0098 -1.50%
GBP 0.5675 -0.0050 -0.87%
HKD 5.6756 -0.0046 -0.08%
JPY 81.5860 0.0930 0.11%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1246.9 2.880 2017-06-27T00:
Oil Brent 46.7 1.070 2017-06-27T00:
Oil Nymex 44.2 0.870 2017-06-27T00:
Silver Index 16.6 0.020 2017-06-27T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7626.4 7626.4 7626.4 -0.41%
NASDAQ 6227.9 6234.3 6247.1 -1.61%
DAX 12728.5 12751.2 12770.8 -0.78%
DJI 21411.2 21440.6 21409.5 -0.46%
FTSE 7446.8 7451.7 7446.8 -0.17%
HKSE 25911.2 25929.6 25871.9 -0.12%
NI225 20229.1 20250.1 20153.3 0.36%
ASX 5714.2 5714.2 5714.2 -0.02%