Authors of a report on gender inequality in public services say it reveals double standards.
The report, commissioned by the Ministry for Women, shows public sector organisations are trying to do better, but not getting far.
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"Our interviews show Government agencies are highly committed to addressing and improving gender equity in their workplaces, and they play a very critical role," said Dr Noelle Donnelly from the Centre for Labour, Employment and Work at Victoria University of Wellington.
"We found that despite managerial intentions, the success of gender equity initiatives were limited by entrenched traditional cultures that privilege certain groups, full-time working and masculinist leadership models, and the challenges in implementing flexible work arrangements."
National Council of Women chief executive Gill Greer told Newshub persistent myths need to be busted.
"You often hear the myths, 'Oh well, women have children,' well in fact men have children too and it doesn't impact in the same way."
Ms Greer said bias is ingrained and equity is still a long way off.
"I'm not at all surprised that work needs to be done, even though the public service has done better than the private sector."
According to Ms Greer, unjust structures behind inequality need to be reformed, and workplaces should be more flexible.
"It requires real commitment from leaders and it requires a systemic approach and addressing those unconscious stereotypes that have been with us for so long."