Kristine Bartlett changed the lives of thousands of New Zealand women and low-paid workers by successfully securing equal pay legislation for caregivers in the aged-care sector.
The rest-home carer of 24 years was the face of the challenging campaign for pay equity on behalf of 55,000 low-paid, mainly female care and support workers.
Kristine’s tireless and inspirational advocacy saw her likened to Kate Sheppard, with her courage and self-sacrifice helping achieve a landmark victory for women in New Zealand.
It took incredible bravery for Kristine to put herself forward as the face of the equal pay movement for caregivers. In doing so she has changed the lives of thousands of New Zealand's lowest paid workers who provide vital health and well-being services.
Kristine’s fight has changed the way we determine the economic value of people, highlighting the need for fairness, decency and equity.
She says the true real heroes were union workers who toiled tirelessly to pave a path for other female-dominated industries to challenge their wage rates on the basis they would be paid more if their workforce were dominated by men.
But the truth is that it was the unassuming Lower Hutt 68-year-old who kickstarted an entire movement to get women a fairer pay deal.
It took five years, three court cases and two appeals but Kristine took on a challenge that represented enormous personal and professional sacrifice. It was a challenge she didn’t hesitate to take on and she was unwavering in her commitment to achieve a landmark victory for public good that sets the standard for pay equity in New Zealand.