Women's struggle to get top jobs remains a frustrating issue 10 years on from when such data was first tracked, says outgoing equal employment opportunities commissioner Judy McGregor.
The fifth Census of Women's Participation on how women fare in professional and public life was issued by the Human Rights Commission today, with government departments faring badly in gender pay gaps.
Dr McGregor, whose term ends this year, said the census gave an objective picture of the progress that women had made and a factual platform for the debate about what should be done.
The 2012 Census showed a two to three percentage point increase in many areas for women at senior levels since the previous census in 2010 but women's low representation at the top, despite increasing participation at entry levels, remained "systemic and frustrating" after 10 years of collecting the data.
Bouquets in the census included recent appointments lifting the proportion of women as public service chief executives over 24 percent and the Institute of Chartered Accountants taking a leadership role this year in urging its members to address gender pay differences.
Women accountants on average are paid 26 percent less than their male counterparts.
Brickbats went to 22 government departments that had gender pay gaps bigger than the average pay gap in the labour market. Also nine government departments had more than a 20 percent gender pay gap, including Treasury and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Other data showed less than 30 percent of judges were women, less than 25 percent of senior academic staff, and less than 20 percent of top legal partnerships.
Also the police and Defence Force had stalled in terms of women's progress at the top, the census found.
The census reports are published by the commission as part of its statutory role to monitor human rights in New Zealand.