Women in the Capital Regional District continue to earn less than men. The gap is larger for visible minority women and women with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women annually earn between 30 and 85 cents for each dollar a white man earns.
When compared to previous data, the median income ratio of all other races/ethnicities increased in relation to white men, with the exception of white women, whose ratio showed a slight decrease.
Where does this gap come from?
For those who aren’t familiar, the gender pay gap refers to the difference in average earnings of people based on gender. It is a widely recognized indicator of gender inequities, and it exists across industries and professional levels.
Various intersecting factors feed into these income gaps—wage inequity, gender and culture specific norms, lack of childcare and caregiving responsibilities are just some examples. Women, and particularly visible minority women:
- Are more likely to be part-time, temporary and contract workers.
- Are more likely to do lower paying work, and conversely, compensation is traditionally lower for sectors in which the workers are mostly women.
- Earn less per hour on average for similar work to men.
The Canadian Human Right Commission states:
“If we are to restore momentum in our efforts to bring about gender equality in Canada, social and economic recovery efforts must take a feminist approach. Closing the gender pay gap and improving social services for women in vulnerable circumstances are a must.”
How can we narrow the gaps in the Capital Region?
Conduct pay audits in your organization. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business provides exercises to conduct an internal audit. While it’s specific to the Pay Equity Act in Quebec, the questions can be adapted to other jurisdictions.
Support flexible work requirements. Women are often forced to choose between work, childcare, and other family commitments. A flexible schedule that eases in-office requirements can help.
Publish wage/salary information in job postings. Providing salaries up front keeps unintentional bias from creeping into the hiring process. Publishing a range allows room to negotiate based on education and experience while ensuring candidates have equal starting places.
Write your MLA and encourage them to pass provincial legislation that outline protections, processes, and remedies that require all BC employers to provide equal pay and to make the minimum wage a living wage (See the CSPC’s annual calculation for the living wage).
- Gender earnings gaps were calculated from median annual incomes.
- Ethnicities are those identified and used by Statistics Canada: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/ref/dict/az/Definition-eng.cfm?ID=pop127
Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0439-01 Employment income statistics by visible minority, highest level of education, immigrant status and income year: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts
Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0427-01 Employment income statistics by Indigenous identity and highest level of education: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts