March 15, 2021
How far we’ve come, and how far we have to go
March is International Women’s History Month and what better time to take a look at the progress women have made in the workforce. Although we have come so far, there is still a long way to go!
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a hard blow to females this past year. Women have been hit particularly hard because they disproportionately work in service-sector jobs. Working mothers have also had a hard time navigating school and daycare closures. In the past 12 months, more than 80,000 women aged 15 and older have left the labour force versus 25,000 men, according to a government release. While these statistics are bleak, they have helped bring the systemic barriers women face in the workforce to the forefront.
Women’s employment and wage potential are being undermined in Canada by a wide variety of systemic and structural barriers, including bias, gender-based violence, the wage gap and a lack of adequate access to child care. 73% of Canadian women who recently responded to a survey conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said equality has not been reached. The same amount said they believe men still get paid more than women for doing the same job.
Canada is ranked as having the 8th highest gender pay gap out of a list of 43 countries. Full-time working women in Canada earn an average of 89 cents for every dollar men make. The gap is wider for women who are Indigenous, living with a disability, racialized or newcomers. It takes women an average of 15.5 months to earn the same amount that a man does in 12 months, with women earning approximately $7,200 less annually than their male counterparts with the same experience, socio-economic and demographic background.
The Government of Canada has been working hard to close the gender pay gap. The Pay Equity Regulations will support the implementation of the Pay Equity Act, which will help ensure that, on average, women and men in federally regulated public and private sector workplaces receive equal pay for work of equal value. The Government will look to a potential coming into force date of the Pay Equity Act and the accompanying regulations later this year. Once in force, employers will have three years to develop and implement their proactive pay equity plans.
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