by Deborah Aarts
Originally published: March 8, 2017
On International Women’s Day, it’s easy to see why Canada—with our feminist Prime Minister and his gender-balanced cabinet—might be construed as a place where sexism is not really a problem. But let’s not kid ourselves: Canada is far from a bastion of workplace equity.
Only eight percent of Canada’s 100 largest companies are run by women, according to talent management firm Rosenzweig & Company. The Ontario Securities Commission reports that women comprise only 12% of board seats at TSX-listed corporations; nearly half (45%) of these companies have all-male boards. Just 19% of the CEOs leading the businesses on the 2016 PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies are women.
The imbalance isn’t restricted to positions of power; in fact, gender inequity is pervasive—in some cases, overwhelmingly so—at all levels of the org chart. The only metric on Oxfam Canada’s recently published Feminist Scorecard 2017 to receive a negative “needs work” grade was our country’s efforts to address the inequalities surrounding women’s work. “Women’s efforts to build a better life are hampered by the unequal distribution of unpaid work, the gender barriers to many fields of work, the undervaluing of jobs held predominantly by women, and the often unspoken social norms that offer men higher wages and rates of promotion from the moment they enter the workforce,” according to the report.