Women still earn less than men.

Shot of two corporate businesspeople posing together in studio with gender symbols inserted in the background

In our third installment in honour of Women’s History Month, we’re addressing the persistent issue of gender pay inequity and the need to pick up the pace on achieving gender pay parity. Currently, women working full-time and part-time are paid an average of $0.87 to $0.89 for every $1 paid to their male counterparts. That number drops to an average of about $0.59 for racialized women compared to white men. If present trends continue, it will take another 267.6 years to close the worldwide economic gender gap.

The gender pay gap in Canada remains a significant issue for women, despite some progress made in recent years. According to Statistics Canada, in 2020, women earned 87 cents for every dollar earned by men in Canada, which is a slight improvement from 83 cents in 2015. However, this still means that women earn approximately 13% less than men for the same work, indicating much work left to do.

Furthermore, the gender pay gap is even wider for women of colour, indigenous women, and women with disabilities. For example, according to a report by Oxfam Canada, indigenous women in Canada earn 33% less than non-indigenous men and 40% less than non-indigenous men in management roles.

It’s essential to recognize that the gender pay gap is not just about individual choices or differences in qualifications but also reflects systemic and structural issues. Women are often concentrated in lower-paying sectors and occupations, and they also face barriers to advancement and leadership positions due to discrimination, bias, and systemic barriers (Canadian Labour Congress, 2021).

Your union can and does play a critical role in addressing the gender pay gap and promoting gender equality in the workplace. Unionized women earn more than non-unionized women, and union contracts can help establish pay equity and ensure that women receive equal pay for work of equal value.

Furthermore, unions can advocate for policy changes and legal frameworks supporting gender equality, such as pay transparency, pay equity legislation, and protections against discrimination and harassment. By working collectively, unions are helping to close the gender pay gap and ensure that all workers receive fair and equitable pay.

In summary, while there have been some improvements in recent years, the gender pay gap in Canada remains a significant issue for women, especially for women of color, indigenous women, and women with disabilities. Unions play a critical role in addressing this issue and promoting gender equality in the workplace through collective bargaining, advocacy, and policy changes.

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