Do Men Make More Money Than Women?
Gender wage differences have been in the news a lot lately, with actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman publicly stating their shock at the wage difference between themselves and leading men. But those are just high- profile cases. In reality, the problem is wide-spread and especially serious among everyday women. Things have changed a lot over the years, but when it comes to women and what they are paid, things haven’t changed enough. According to Statistics Canada, women earn 87 cents to men’s dollar.
Not only are women still more likely to work jobs that are deemed typically ‘female’, women are also overrepresented in low-paying professions. This is the case across North America, but let’s focus on Canada. Statistics Canada’s data on 2015 looked at the hourly earnings of those aged between 25 to 54. These studies showed that the gender wage gap has shrunk by 10 cents since 1981. That’s progress, although slow progress. But why this improvement exactly? Well, education has a lot to do with it—in 2015, Statistics Canada found that around 35% of Canadian women had university degrees. Back in 1990, only a measly 13.7% had university degrees. Unfortunately, in 2015 even women who had a university degree at a level above a bachelor degree earned around 90 cents to every dollar earned by a man. According to Statistics Canada, in 2014 2.6% of women were in leadership roles at large corporate businesses—that’s compared to 6.5% of men; this is still not acceptable.
How we can change things
Women need to begin to be more represented in high-paying jobs. As they are overrepresented in low-paying jobs, the industry just needs to be conditioned to treat both genders equally. What are typical ‘female’ jobs? Often administration work, nursing, sales, serving, hospitality, teaching and nursing. These are definitely important careers to fill. But women need to be encouraged to encroach on fields that are typically dominated by men. The gender pay gap has certainly shrunk, but if women are going to take on these male-dominated professions at greater numbers, the pay gap will close…but it will take some time. Hopefully not another 30 years. According to Statistics Canada, the labour force has seen an increase in older women—a record amount actually. Back in 2000 that number was nearly half of what it is now. The labour force needs more of this. More women in leadership jobs, a more sweeping presence of women, and women of a wide array of ages will close that pay gap more quickly.