Gender Equality

Banner for International Women's Day 2018

But wait... gender equality already exists, doesn’t it?

Equality between women and men is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Government of Canada is committed to upholding gender equality in all sectors of Canadian society. We have made great strides in many areas, such as education and workforce participation.

Nevertheless, challenges remain:

Too few women are advancing into leadership roles.

  • Women make up just 21.6% of Financial Post 500* board members. Footnote i

    *The Financial Post’s ranking of Canada’s largest companies by revenue.

Women are under-represented in politics.

  • 26% of those elected to the 42nd Parliament are women. Footnote ii
  • In 2015, women made up 28% of municipal councillors and only 18% of mayors.Footnote iii

Women continue to be responsible for the majority of caregiving.

  • Women spend more time than men caring for their children. In 2010, women spent an average of 50.1 hours per week on unpaid child care, more than double that spent by men (24.4 hours). Footnote iv
  • In 2010, women were almost twice as likely as men (49% compared to 25%) to spend more than 10 hours per week caring for a senior. Footnote v
  • Women spend more time than men on domestic work. In 2010, while women spent 13.8 hours per week doing housework, men spent 8.3 hours. Footnote vi

Women in the workforce tend to earn less than men.

  • Average earnings for women in all job tenures (as percentage of men’s earnings) were 68.4% in 2014, suggesting a gap of over 30%. Footnote vii
  • When measuring full-time job tenure only, women earn 73.3% of men working full-time in Canada, or roughly 27% less. Footnote viii
  • Women represent about two-thirds of part-time workers. Footnote ix

Women continue to experience high rates of gender-based violence.

  • Women are at a 20% higher risk of violent victimization than men when all other risk factors are taken into account. Footnote x
  • Women account for 87% of victims of sexual offences and 76% of victims of criminal harassment. Footnote xi

Some groups are at particular risk for gender-based violence.

  • Aboriginal women (10%) were about three times as likely to report being a victim of spousal violence as non-Aboriginal women (3%). Footnote xii

How do we change this?

  • It starts with changing attitudes and behaviours.
  • It starts by recognizing that the gender stereotypes and subtle sexism we encounter every day are part of the problem.
  • It starts by challenging the sexism and discrimination that allow gender inequality to exist.
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