Canadian Women's Earnings Still Substantially Lower

Monday, July 26 2010


The average earnings of employed women are still substantially lower than those of men, even when they are employed on a full-time basis.

In 2003, women working on a full-time, full-year basis had average earnings of $36,500, or 71% what their male counterparts made.

As well, the gap between the earnings of women and men has not changed substantially in the past decade.

Women make up a disproportionate share of the population in Canada with low incomes as measured by Statistics Canada's low income cut-off (LICO) on an after-tax basis.

Unattached women are particularly likely to have low incomes.

In 2003, 31% of unattached women aged 16 and over lived in low income. Seniors are the least likely unattached women to have low incomes. Indeed, the incidence of low income among unattached senior women has dropped sharply since the early 1980s.

Families headed by female lone parents also have relatively high rates of low income. In 2003, 38% of all families headed by lone-parent mothers had incomes which fell below the after-tax LICO. In comparison, this was the case for 13% of male lone-parent families and just 7% of non-elderly two-parent families with children.

However, the incidence of low income among lone-parent families headed by women has declined somewhat since the early 1980s when the figure hovered around 50%.

As a result, lone-parent families headed by women continue to be home to a disproportionate share of all children living in a low-income situation.

In 2003, 43% of all children in a low-income family were living with a single female parent, whereas these families accounted for only 13% of all children aged 17 and under.

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