Women are losing ground in the public service, according to new figures.
A report by the Human Rights Commission has found the number of female chief executives has fallen since the last count in 2008, and 24 of 34 public service departments have greater gender pay gaps than the private sector.
Equal employment opportunities commissioner Judy McGregor says the figures are an embarrassment.
She says there has been a flurry of initiatives since the 2008 census, but since then women's participation in key areas has stalled and is sliding backwards.
Dr McGregor says New Zealand is unlikely to meet its international obligation to have pay parity in the public sector by the end of this year.
The private sector is under scrutiny too, with the report noting that 57 of the top 100 companies have no women on their boards.