Gender Wage Gap - The Gap is still GAPING
Can you believe that the gender wage gap STILL exists in 2022? It prevails in some way or another in every country in the world - even in Canada. Before we dive into this issue it is important to acknowledge that gender is viewed on a spectrum, and much of the research done to date focuses on gender as a binary construct (i.e., women vs. men).
According to the research to date, the wage gap impacts women negatively in many ways, and the gap is even greater for women within the LGBTQ + community and for those who are Indigenous, racialized and/ or recent immigrants.
Unsplash via Standsome
How Is the Gender Wage Gap Even Measured?
There are three ways the gender wage gap is typically measured; which are by comparing genders in terms of:
- Annual earnings of all workers (full and part-time).
- Annual earning of full-time workers only.
- Hourly pay of full-time workers.
This last one will be my focus - as it takes into account the double burden of women working a full-time job and more often than not, also taking on significantly more family responsibilities.
Unsplash via Brook Lark
A Little Bit of Canadian History
Research holds that the gender wage gap originates from the old-fashioned perspective of gender roles – you know, the outdated idea that the husband brings home the money and the wife prepares dinner, tends to the house and raises the children.
During WWI, women took over the jobs of the men that went to war, however they received much lower wages for the same work. Following the war, women were forced out of the labour force, until the Great Depression of the 1930s, where they were encouraged to rejoin the workforce. In 1998 the wage gap sa at 18.8% in Canada - with men making an average of 5.17$ more per hour. By 2018, it had narrowed to 13.3%, with men making4.12$ more per hour. Today, while women have been working the same jobs as men for decades, the wage gap persists!
What Contributes to the Gender Wage Gap?
Take truck-driving for example - 97% of truck drivers are male and the median annual salary is $45,417. Early childhood educators (which requires a degree or college diploma) earn a median of $25,334 and 97% of them are female.
Flickr via Miguel Abad
Why is this the case? Perhaps the most common reason is that there is limited affordable childcare available and women often take on the majority of the domestic work (like caring for children).
The Gap Within the Wage Gap
Some subgroups of women experience an even more significant wage gap - due to intersectionality. The wage gaps below are measured from the comparison point of Caucasian (non-racialized) men.
Flickr via D.Dorman
The wage gap for Indigenous women, as compared to non-indigenous men is 35%! There is also a pay gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous men. The wage gaps vary significantly from region to region as well.
Women of Colour
The wage gap for racialized women is 33%, according to the 2016 Canadian Census.
Transgender Women and Non-Binary Individuals
There is limited research to indicate the current wage gap for transgender women, and non-binary individuals. However, a study done in 2011 indicates that around half of the transgender community earns $15,000 a year or less - meaning a clear wage gap exists.
If the wage gap continues to narrow at such a slow rate, it is reasonable to assume that it will be a long time until it disappears completely. There are so many income disparities that exist in Canada - and you guessed it - the pandemic has been hitting those with a lower socioeconomic status even harder.