Women in Canada

Tuesday, July 27 2010

Women are playing stronger roles in the workplace and their profile is rising in many professional fields, according to a new assessment on the evolving status of women in Canadian society.

However, the report still shows substantial gaps between the sexes in many key areas.

The average earnings of employed women are still substantially lower than those of men, women make up a disproportionate share of the population with low incomes and women are much more likely than men to work part time.

On the other hand, one of their real success stories has been the dramatic gain in the proportion of women with a university degree. Women are still slightly less likely than men to have a university degree. But the gap is much narrower than in the past.

The current situation for women is assessed in the fifth edition of the compendium Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report, available today. This 300-page report provides a statistical overview of their demographic characteristics, family arrangements, health, education, employment and unpaid work activity, income, housing, and criminal victimization.

It also includes separate sections describing the situations of immigrant women, women in the visible minority community, Aboriginal women, senior women and women with disabilities.

The report found that the increased participation of women in the paid work force has been one of the most significant social trends in Canada in the past quarter century.

In 2004, 58% of all women aged 15 and over were part of the paid work force, up from 42% in 1976. In contrast, the proportion of men who were employed fell during this period from 73% to 68%.

As a result, women accounted for 47% of the employed work force in 2004, up from 37% in 1976.

The report also showed that women have somewhat higher literacy skills, on average, than the male population; the proportion of women living with their spouse has declined in the past two decades; more women are living alone; and women make up the majority of the Canadian population with disabilities.

Taken from Statistics Canada's The Daily, online (March 7) at:

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