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Girls & Women

Canada Is Slowly Closing Its Gender Pay Gap: Report

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Closing the gender pay gap is a key part of achieving gender equality, as well as eradicating extreme poverty overall. You can join us in taking action on this and related issues here.

There has been progress made toward closing the gender pay gap in Canada, according to a study from economists at the Royal Bank of Canada.

The study looks at financial changes over the last 40 years. Women’s share of the national income has increased from 25% to 42% since 1976, which equals a $240 billion raise, HuffPost Canada reported.

Another study from last October found that the gender wage gap has been shrinking since 1998, the CBC reported. On average, women earned 13.3% less per hour, or $0.87 for every dollar earned by men in 2018, compared to an 18.8% hourly wage gap in 1998, the study found.

Still, it could be some time before pay equality is achieved, due to a variety of factors.

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"Women still tend to spend more time out of work because of children, so even if women ended up working at the same rates as men we should expect a gap to remain," Andrew Agopsowicz, one of the study’s co-authors, told HuffPost Canada. "Much of the convergence over the past 30 years has been because of the closing of the employment rate gap (58 women were employed for every 100 men in 1976, today that number is over 90), so I don’t think we can rely as much on that channel going forward."

The study’s forecast projected that over the next 10 years, if current trends continue, women’s share of income will only increase by one percentage point, to 43%.

This can be ameliorated by improving workplace policies around child care and family leave, and reducing barriers for entry for women in high-wage careers and STEM fields, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Companies can also be required to disclose gender pay gaps.

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Worldwide, gender parity is at 68.6%, but the 10 countries that sit the lowest on the list have only closed 40% of the gap, according to a report from the World Economic Forum. Women are also much less likely to participate in the labour force, with only 55% of adult women participating, compared to 78% of men, largely due to societal factors restricting their participation.

At the current rate of change, it will take 257 years before the gap in economic equality between women and men has been closed, the report said.