Better Than It Was Is Not Good Enough – Women in the Workforce


Within the workforce, Canadian women have fought their way to a much higher level of job market involvement over the past 50 years.   With lots of hard work, many women have changed their economic situation and gained independence but we still have a long way to go in Canada.

Why are we so interested in women and the workforce when this blog is about demanding a world without violence?

Violence affects women-identified people in many ways, not only in a physical-sense. Even though we as women have made major strides in financial independence and education, within the workforce, women continue to face inequality and inequity within their jobs due to power imbalances, patriarchy and workplace politics!

Although things are certainly better than it was, it is still simply is NOT GOOD ENOUGH! We still have much further to go in order to experience liberation, empowerment, and fair treatment in the workforce.

The Canadian Labour Congress report “Women in the Workforce: Still a Long Way from Equality” illustrates the inequality and inequity quite well. Here is the link if you wish to check it out.

Here are some highlights:

– Women tend to be better educated than men and are deciding to have fewer children, however women continue to make less money than men, and the gendered wage gap has been growing since the 1980’s.

– Women without formal education and/or unrecognized credentials, recent immigrants and women of colour are more likely than the same populous of men to earn less than $12 per hour, which is not a sustainable living wage, especially to raise a family! Additionally, many such jobs are on a part-time or temporary basis within the private sector, which prevents very little if any, job security for women.

-Many women are in positions where they provide care to their children, their elderly parents, and sometimes, both. Women’s contribution to the unwaged workforce is epic. However, due to the vast economic changes that have taken place within the past 30 years, women are often required to provide the unpaid work of childcare, elder care, cooking and cleaning, in addition to working outside the home!

-Despite lobby groups pressuring the government for a public childcare, the only province in Canada to put this in place is Quebec.  (Yay Quebec!) By creating a low-cost universal childcare policy along the lines of the European model, mothers will have more options and resources surrounding their ability to work outside the home and parent, with less burnout. (Choice is a beautiful thing!)

– When many jobs are part-time and temporary positions, women often have to juggle multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and when scheduling conflicts occur amongst the multiple roles and jobs women hold, employers can be insensitive and uncooperative to women’s needs. When this occurs, many women risk becoming labelled as a “difficult employee’s” or “hard to manage” and in many cases, are fired.

This is JUST A TINY SNAPSHOT of the many gendered power-imbalances in the workforce, which we, as women-identified people must fight against.

Many survivors of abuse stay with their abusers due to being financially dependent on their partner. When women achieve equitable and fair opportunities in the workforce, with a sustainable living wage, women are also gaining opportunities to live independently and free of abuse!

— Mandy


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