Kristine Bartlett has 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 unassuming Lower Hutt, 68-year-old, kickstarted an entire movement to get aged-care workers a fairer pay deal.
The rest-home carer was the face of the campaign for pay equity on behalf of 55,000 low-paid, mainly female care and support workers.
In 2012, Bartlett lodged an application with the Employment Relations Authority that she was not receiving equal pay as per the Equal Pay Act of 1972. She argued she had worked for 20 years for very low pay because aged care work is largely performed by women. In 2017, a settlement was reached which raised wages for workers in residential aged care, disability support services and home support services.
In 2017, Bartlett won the Next Woman of the Year Supreme Award. The panel of judges stated that Bartlett had taken responsibility for the pay equity fight and had improved the lives of many thousands of women. And she has just recently won the prestigious 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the year title.
Her faith centres on believing there is good in this world and she has three children.