International Women’s Day was observed March 8 with the theme of #EachforEqual. A look at the numbers reveals gender disparity remains a problem in Canada.
Women make up slightly more than half of the population, yet continue to be underrepresented in political and professional leadership positions, according to the Canadian Women's Foundation.
Even with Canada’s federal cabinet now being evenly-gendered, just 98 (29 per cent) of the House of Commons' 338 seats are held by women.
Less than one in five of all Canadian leadership roles in 2016 were held by women, according to Statistics Canada, with women occupying just 19.4 per cent of director positions.
Only 19.5 per cent of board members for Canada’s top 500 companies are women, while just 8.5 per cent of the highest-paid positions in Canada’s top-listed companies are held by women, according to human resources firm Randstad Canada. The report further indicated 62 per cent of working women and 41 per cent of working men identify gender discrimination as the leading cause for lack of female executives.
“Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue,” declares the International Women’s Day website. “Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”
A 2017 report from international management-consulting firm McKinsey & Co. agrees, indicating Canada could add $150-billion in GDP growth by 2026 – six per cent higher than business-as-usual forecasts – just by advancing women’s equality.
“Although 53 percent of the degree-holders in Canada are female, women are a minority of corporate leaders,” the report stated.
Women make up approximately 45 per cent of all entry-level employees, according to the report, but only 25 per cent of vice presidents and 15 per cent of CEOs.
Clearly, more can be done to encourage gender equality.