Pay Equity Day in Canada — Women are working for free
As a Union, UCTE has taken the position on some social issues that can affect our members. One of the issues specifically is pay equity. We come out of a patriarchal society, felt at all levels in the workplace. This state of affairs leaves its mark, leading, even in 2022, to constant campaigning against an ideology which puts women at a disadvantage.
We find it perplexing that we still must fight for equality today. It has been 30 years since the federal government passed a law making it illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace, yet, the fight goes on, as the following statistics show:
- Women still earn on average 32% less than men.
- Racialized women earn 40% less than Canadian-born white men.
- For Aboriginal women, the gap is 45%.
- For immigrant women, the difference is 55%.
- For women with disabilities it is 56%.
- Since 2020, ten times as many women as men in Canada have left the workforce.
- For every dollar earned by men, women working full time earn on average only 76.8 cents.
- Canada ranks 24th out of 156 countries in the 2021 Global Gender Gap Index.
Gender discrimination has no place in any sphere of our lives. The fact of their womanhood should not mean they are put down or cause any employer to put them down. The stereotype is still there; it has to go. Expertise and ability in the workplace should not be gender-based. Evaluation should be on quality of work performed. It is not a ‘flaw’ to be a woman. It should not be a reality to constantly defend women because a gender is assigned to her at birth, and this can affect the rest of her life, her decisions, and the thoughts of others towards her. It is still a reality today: a woman is at a disadvantage getting a head start in the Canadian workplace today.
As we looked into this subject further to see what level of injustice Canadian women face, we highlight a truly shocking fact. First, in Ontario, where the wage gap between the men and the woman is 31.5%, a woman would have to work 14 years longer than a man to achieve the same cumulative earnings as he at age 65. A statistic showed more precisely how much longer a Canadian women would have to work in a year to reach the same average salary as a man. In Canada, as things stand, a woman works for free from January to April. She would have to work an extra four months plus a few days to achieve equity.
In summary, UCTE and PSAC have been fighting for pay equity for over 30 years. Some landmark battles with Treasury Board and Nav Canada prove that we can do it. Every day we take small steps that make a difference. But we are not there yet. We need to constantly denounce this unfair status quo.