In the 1980s New Zealand ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 100 on Equal Remuneration, under which women have the right to equal pay for the same or similar work (equal pay) and the right to equal pay for work of equal value (pay equity), and Convention 111 on Equal Employment Opportunity.

IN 1998 the ILO included Conventions 100 and 111 in a Declaration on ‘fundamental freedoms at work’. The ILO promotes equal opportunities for both women and men to engage in decent work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.