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TORONTO, Sept. 18, 2023 /CNW/ – Using average hourly wages, Statistics Canada data from the Labour Force Survey unveils that in 2022, female employees in Ontario earned $0.87 (or 13%) for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. The average hourly wage gap has narrowed by 6 percentage points since 1998 when women earned $0.81 for every dollar earned by men. Hourly wages are useful for showing the gap based on number of hours worked. The gap shown by average annual earnings shows the gap for jobs that can include performance-based pay, so typically shows a wider gap.
“Census figures about the gender wage gap are just one indicator of wider gender inequalities in the labour market,” says Kadie Ward, Commissioner and CAO of the Pay Equity Office. Commissioner Ward highlights the need for continued efforts to understand and address systemic factors that contribute to these disparities.
The data on average annual income reveals varying gaps across different racial backgrounds. For instance, Arab women face the largest gap at 47%, while Chinese women experience the smallest at 25%. On average, the gender wage gap narrowed by 3% for racialized populations between 2016 and 2021.
During the same period, Indigenous populations in Ontario experienced an increase in average annual employment income, with the gender wage gap narrowing by an average of 4% across all Indigenous populations, and totalling 39%.
Similarly, people living with disabilities in Canada face a substantial wage gap, with women living with disabilities earning $25,900 CAD less per year than men living without disabilities. This translates to an average annual gender wage gap of 43%.
30 per cent of the gap can be explained by measurable factors such as education, job tenure, part-time vs. full-time work, public vs. private sector work, firm size, unionization rates, occupation, industry, and demographics. 70 per cent of the gap remains unexplained by current research methods.
From 1998 to 2018, the rise in women’s educational achievements has emerged as a pivotal factor in reducing the gap. Statistics Canada research indicates that the increase in women’s educational attainment contributed to a 12.7% reduction in the median annual gender wage gap over this timeframe. This trend underscores the importance of education as an agent of change, contributing significantly to women’s empowerment.
Another historical factor influencing the gender wage gap has been occupational segregation. As women have made strides in breaking through occupational barriers by moving into male-dominated fields, their increased representation in higher-earning occupations has directly contributed to narrowing the gender wage gap.
The occupations with the largest gains in closing the gender wage gap over the last decade in Ontario were natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations (by 10%); management occupations (by 9%); and occupations in manufacturing and utilities (by 6%).
While the progress is evident, challenges persist. Collaborative efforts between public and private sectors, as well as individual awareness and action, are integral to making substantial positive changes and achieving parity in earnings. Building on the success of season one of the Pay Equity Office’s award-winning podcast, the second season of Level the Paying Field was launched earlier this year. The second season convenes leading experts and renowned researchers to uncover the hidden biases that contribute to unexplained pay gaps. Through the series, Ontario’s Pay Equity Office seeks to highlight how data and research can seed meaningful conversations around gender inequality and drive change.
Join the Pay Equity Office in elevating the equity conversation to make the world a more equitable place for women to work, live and thrive and support closing the gender wage gap. Visit our web site at www.payequity.gov.on.ca, watch episodes of Level the Paying Field at www.levelthepayingfield.ca or listen wherever you get your podcasts.
- The gender wage gap (GWG) is the difference between wages earned by men and wages earned by women. There are different ways to measure the GWG.
- In Ontario, the GWG calculated on the basis of average hourly wages is 13%. This means that for every $1.00 earned by a male worker, a female worker earns 87 cents. Calculated using average annual salary earnings, the GWG is 25%, or 75 cents on the dollar. The gap is even wider for Indigenous women who earn 61 cents on the dollar, and women of colour who earn 62 cents.
- In Ontario, the hourly wage gap has narrowed six percentage points since 1998 to 13 per cent in 2022 when looking at average hourly wages. This means, on an hourly basis, women make 87 cents on average for every dollar made by a man.
- Research shows that factors such as education, job tenure, part-time vs. full-time work, public vs. private sector work, firm size, unionization rates, occupation, industry, and demographics, can only explain about 30 per cent of the gap in Ontario. Seventy per cent of the gap remains unexplained. This unexplained portion may be due in part to factors such as gender discrimination and societal expectations and constraints.
Kadie Ward, Commissioner and CAO of Ontario’s Pay Equity Commission, describes the difference between equal pay and equal pay for work of equal value. She also reflects on how International Equal Pay Day is an opportunity to recognize the progress made and how much more work there is to be done to promote fairness, diversity, and economic empowerment for all individuals regardless of gender.
Click here to view: Significant – Ep. 11 – Equal Pay Day [AD] on Vimeo
By Julie Cafley, PhD and Kadie Ward
International Equal Pay Day, recognized by the United Nations and observed on September 18, acknowledges the crucial need for society to address ongoing efforts to achieve equal pay for equal work. This year, it comes on the heels of a blockbuster summer for women’s economic power in show business.
We saw women-centred entertainment drive record-breaking revenue at the box office and on the music charts. Whether it was the Barbie movie, Beyonce’s “Renaissance” tour, or Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour, these most-talked-about women of the summer have all used their platforms to champion pay equity, too.
How does that translate to actual progress for everyday women?
We’ve heard many corporate leaders’ good intentions to address the issue for years. We’ve read the commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion, but things have not substantially changed despite these declarations.
According to Catalyst research, Canadian women face a gender pay gap by every measure. Among all workers in 2021, women earned 88.7 per cent of what men earned based on average hourly wage rates. For racialized women, the pay gap is even wider. Canadian women of colour made only 59 per cent of what Canadian men earned who did not self-identify as people of colour.
As monetary policymakers look to curb inflation, the research reminds us that unlocking the economic benefits gained through pay equity measures is undeniable.
An often-cited report by McKinsey estimated that by 2026, Canada can potentially add $150 billion to its annual GDP by supporting women’s participation in the workforce. Transparency in salary ranges on job descriptions can shift the responsibility from candidates to organizations, promoting fairness and equality.
Another McKinsey study has documented the effect of including and excluding women in 1,000 organizations across 15 countries since 2015. It showed how gender-diverse and inclusive teams are more likely to innovate, radically helping their companies gain a competitive edge. In addition, companies with gender diversity on executive teams were 25 per cent more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies without it.
In short, gender equity is good for everyone and the bottom line.
One initiative helping address this imperative is Catalyst’s CEO Champions for Change, where leaders pledge to increase women’s representation in senior leadership and on boards and provide valuable data towards this goal.
Having diverse and representative leadership is essential to drive tangible change in culture. A critical aspect of this is the need to address not only gender but also other intersectional realities such as race, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. According to the “critical mass theory” by Harvard professor Rosabeth Kanter, a group needs 30 per cent representation to impact culture significantly.
Equity issues should be at the forefront of strategic plans, balanced scorecards, and institutional metrics. A systematic and data-driven approach is needed to drive progress and create a better understanding of leadership selection and why workplace equity still eludes us.
By prioritizing concrete plans to close the wage gap and achieve equal pay, we can create a fair and inclusive society that benefits individuals and boosts the economy. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. Just ask Barbie, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift.
Julie Cafley, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Catalyst Canada, a global non-profit that advances inclusive workplaces. Kadie Ward is Commissioner & Chief Administrative Officer, Pay Equity Commission of Ontario.
Why is bias so difficult to tackle? What interventions actually work? Commissioner Ward joins the 2023 HRPA Summit to speak to DEI and HR priorities
Commissioner Kadie Ward was pleased to attend the 2023 HR Summit, Annual Meeting and Tradeshow hosted by Human Resources Professionals Association to speak about the structural bias in the labour market as well as effective approaches for identifying and tackling implicit biases to drive better diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) outcomes in workplaces.
Delivering better DEI outcomes is a priority for HR professionals. DEI has been a “trend” within HR practice for many years. How did we get here? Why is bias so difficult to tackle? What interventions actually work? It’s going to take more than “re-writing the playbook” to correct the structural biases in the labour market. Implicit or hidden biases are automatic and unconscious tendencies that can perpetuate inequity and injustice in the labour market. Many well-intentioned and commonly used programs and interventions to reduce implicit bias have been ineffective at bringing about meaningful change.
The Gender Wage Gap: Explaining the Unexplained Season Two, Level the Paying Field, Launches April 2023.
Trades are for everyone! Commissioner Ward encourages young women to get consider a career in the trades at the Skills Ontario Young Women’s Conference.
Commissioner Ward kicked off the 24th Annual Young Women’s Conference with Skills Ontario and partners to build momentum for young women in trades and tech. It is estimated that only one in ten apprentices are female and most young women dismiss the trades as a career path because of the traditional perception that trades are for men. Speaking to the full room at the Toronto Congress Centre, Commissioner Ward encouraged the grade 6 to 12 students to consider the range of opportunities and choose what is best for them. A career in the trades provides long term opportunities and secure work in a rewarding career in a range of industries.
Skills Ontario and its partners host Young Women’s Career Exploration Events at locations across Ontario that bring education, hands-on experience, and mentorship together, ultimately making the connection to successful career opportunities in the skilled trades and technology sectors. The Skills Ontario Young Women’s Conferences are the largest young women’s conferences in Canada, attracting over 2,000 young women from across Ontario to attend.
The Impact of the Wage Gap on Canada’s Economy and Women-Identified Entrepreneurs, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CanWCC) Panel Discussion
Commissioner Ward joined CanWCC with Janelle Benjamin the Founder & Chief Equity Officer of All Things Equitable Inc. , and and Allison Venditti, Founder of Moms at Work to discuss strategies for promoting equal pay, increasing access to capital, and and how pay equity impacts women-identifying entrepreneurs.
The impact of the gender wage gap on entrepreneurship makes it more difficult for women-identifying business owners to access the capital they need to start and grow their businesses. As the gender wage gap contributes to devaluing women’s work overall, women-identifying entrepreneurs earn, on average, 58% less than male entrepreneurs.
Moderated by Nancy Wilson, Founder and CEO of CanWCC, the panel explored:
- The fundamental, philosophical issue of how we value men and women’s labour – if we don’t value their labour equally in traditional employment, there can be no reasonable expectation of equality/equity in other economic areas
- Women-identified employees leaving the workforce to become entrepreneurs
- How closing the gender wage gap can make a difference
- What tools and resources are available to help Canadian businesses and business owners dismantle the wage gap.
The wage gap significantly impacts the economy and entrepreneurship for women-identifying business owners. Women make up half of the population and the labour force, and their economic contributions are essential to Canada’s economy. When women are paid less than men, it not only affects their personal financial well-being but also has a ripple effect on the economy as a whole.