Women in the Capital Regional District continue to earn less than men. The gap is larger for visible minority women and women with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women annually earn between 30 and 85 cents for each dollar a white man earns.
For those who aren't familiar, the gender pay gap refers to the difference in average earnings of people based on gender. It is a widely recognized indicator of gender inequities, and it exists across industries and professional levels.
There is still much work to be done.
When compared to previous data, the median income ratio of all other races/ethnicities increased in relation to white men, with the exception of white women, whose ratio showed a slight decrease.
How can we close the gender pay gap?
Conduct pay audits in your organization. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business provides exercises to conduct an internal audit. While it’s specific to the Pay Equity Act in Quebec, the questions can be adapted to other jurisdictions.
Support flexible work requirements. Women are often forced to choose between work, childcare, and other family commitments. A flexible schedule that eases in-office requirements can help.
Publish wage/salary information in job postings. Providing salaries up front keeps unintentional bias from creeping into the hiring process and provides transparency for applicants. Publishing a range also allows room to negotiate based on education and experience while ensuring candidates have equal starting places.
Write your MLA and encourage them to pass provincial legislation that outlines protections, processes, and remedies that require all BC employers to provide equal pay and to make the minimum wage a living wage (See the CSPC’s annual calculation for the living wage). Universal Childcare is also seen as a key way to eliminate the gender pay gap.
In order to see long-lasting change, both pay equity and proper representation of women in higher-paying jobs must be addressed.
Gender wage gaps are calculated from median employment incomes.
Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0439-01 Employment income statistics by visible minority, highest level of education, immigrant status and income year: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts
Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0427-01 Employment income statistics by Indigenous identity and highest level of education: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts
As part of the Happiness and Wellbeing Lab project, the United Way Southern Vancouver Island and Community Council release annual data on International Women's Day to bring attention to the gender pay gap and empower individuals to take action.