2003 Report Card on the Status of Women in New Brunswick

Wednesday, July 28 2010
2003 Report Card o­n the Status of Women in New Brunswick


"The 2003 Report Card o­n the Status of Women in New Brunswick shows that women have improved their situation in the last few years through changes they made in their education and employment patterns," according to the Chairperson of the Advisory Council o­n the Status of Women in N.B., Dr. Mary Lou Stirling.   "But women in New Brunswick would benefit from more employment and training equity, increased female representation in positions of influence, quality affordable child care and other policies to improve their status. Our Report Card shows that women earn just 80.9% of what men earn, that there are regulated spaces for o­nly a fraction of the children of working parents, that almost half of lone-parent women are poor, that women are almost absent in certain industries and occupations and that violence against women remains prevalent."   The Report Card is an annual statistical profile of women and education and training, health, income, family responsibilities, labour force, positions of influence and violence.   "The Report Card is useful to show where change is occurring or not in all of these areas, but it cannot show the link between issues," said Dr. Stirling. "Women know that the absence of child care has an impact o­n the gender pay gap, that poverty and family responsibilities contribute to women's health status, that the lack of economic autonomy is related to the number of women living in violence and that the low number of women in certain decision-making positions has an impact o­n all society."   In 2002, N.B. women who worked full or part-time earned 80.9% of men's pay, which is an improvement over 2001 but as Dr. Stirling noted, "women earned 82% in 1998".   "We also note that female Community College graduates of 2001 who were working full-time a year later were earning o­n average 84% of male graduates' earnings." Women working full-time in managerial jobs in N.B. in 2000 earned 68% of what men earned, an improvement from 57% in 1999 due in part to the decrease in average male salaries. In sales and service occupations, full-time working women in N.B. earned 52% of what men earned. N.B. women are in the labour force in equal or greater proportion than the Canadian average. Overall, 57% of New Brunswick women are in the paid labour force, compared to 68% of men. A slightly higher proportion of Aboriginal women in N.B. were in the labour force than non-Aboriginal women in 1996, the most recent available statistics. However, Aboriginal women are more likely to work part year or part-time.   In N.B., fewer lone mothers have employment than the national average: 58% of lone mothers with children under age 6 in N.B. have employment; nationally, 63% of these lone mothers are employed. The rate of lone-parent women who live in poverty decreased but remains high at 42% in 2000; families headed by a lone mother account for about half of poor children in N.B. However, the average amount that a poor lone-parent family in N.B. would need to reach the "poverty line" has decreased substantially since 1980 and stands now at $3,150.   The proportion of child support due that is actually paid through the Department of Justice has decreased in recent years: 77% of total child support due was collected in 2001-2002, down from 83% in 1999-2000. The total of child and other support due but not paid in cases involving children was almost $10,000,000 in N.B. in 2001-2002. About 39% of all active cases involving children were in full compliance at the end of 2001-2002. The number of child support conditions handled by the Department increased sharply in those years and since 1996/1997, the family support order service caseload has increased about 41%. In 2001-2002, over $4 million in support was collected for 3,300 beneficiaries who were social assistance recipients: the amounts collected did not benefit them directly since they are deducted from their benefits.   Overall, 9% of women and 9% of men live in poverty in N.B., but some groups are extremely vulnerable to poverty, such as lone mothers. Persons o­n social assistance benefits in New Brunswick receive between 21% and 64% of Statistics Canada's low-income cut-offs for the province's largest cities. Fewer and fewer senior women live with income below the poverty line since 1980, but the gap between the average income of male and female seniors continues to widen in N.B.: in 2000, senior women's income was 61% of men's. While other statistics about the educational status of women show a positive picture, women in Community Colleges are not faring as well. The number of women attending Community Colleges in New Brunswick is dropping. Just 38% of full-time students in N.B. community colleges were female in 2001-2002, down from a high of 46% in 1988/1989. Women continue to be concentrated in short-duration and traditionally female programs in Community Colleges.   Overall, educational statistics are positive: women's literacy skills are higher than men's; N.B. girls succeeded as well as boys in math and science high school courses; and for more than a decade, female students have outnumbered males in New Brunswick universities; women represent half or more of students in all university faculties except engineering, math and physical sciences.   Women were a smaller percentage of the 1,615 government-appointed members of boards and commissions in 2003: currently 29% are women, down from 30% the previous year. Boards of interest to women that have low female representation include the Human Rights Commission, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission Board and the Board of Directors of the Regional Development Corporation. Boards that showed improvement include the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority and the Judicial Council.   There has been a dramatic decline in the last few years in the percentage of girls aged 12 to 19 year in N.B. who are physically active. Between 1994/1995 and 2000/2001, the girls' rate fell from 61% to 45%; boys' rate fell from 67% to 53%. Overall the percentage of adult females who are physically active increased in those years and N.B. women aged 20 to 44 are more physically active and fewer of them are overweight than N.B. males.   In 2001, 994 founded woman abuse incidents were reported to the police, up from 807 in 1995. The percentage of abusers who were sent to jail decreased significantly from 1995 to 2001: 25% of the men sentenced for woman abuse in N.B. received jail time in 2001, down from 43% in 1995. The average length of sentence was 82 days, down from 105 days in 1999. Far more women than men are killed by their current or ex-partners in New Brunswick. Due to the low rate of homicides by N.B. women, about 8 wives were victims of spousal homicide for every husband killed in N.B. between 1974 and 2000.


View the Report Card o­n our website after 10:30am March 6, 2003: http://www.acswcccf.nb.ca/english/acsw1.asp

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