Wage gap same as women ‘working for free’ until the end of the year: advocates


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The Canadian Women’s Foundation is drawing attention to inequality in the workplace, with “Now You’re Working for Free Day.”

It is marked by Sept. 22, when there is 30 per cent of the year left. The day is meant to underscore that, on average, women experience a 30 per cent pay gap when compared to their male counterparts.

Andrea Gunraj of the Canadian Women’s Foundation says the wage gap is like women are working for free until the end of the year.

“I think it goes to the fact that we have to look at women, not just as one big group, we have to look at the differences between them and recognize that people are dealing with more than one form of discrimination and barriers at the same time.”

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Gunraj explains women tend to do work part-time or end up working fewer hours, which is due to structural problems. For example, women not being able to work full-time because they are responsible for “unpaid labour,” such as childcare.

“Women, given their place in society and the things they do for people who depend on them — children, and elders, and family members — this gender pay gap actually hurts entire families, entire communities. So we can’t discount if even if we may not be the gender being impacted. It’s something we all need to take really seriously.

Women are expected to work just as hard as men while maintaining family responsibilities, Gunraj says. And she says women are often passed over for promotions compared to their male counterparts.

For women of colour and women with disabilities, Gunraj says it’s even tougher.

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“It spans across all sectors and age ranges. Women actually take the pay gap with them even as they retire. It’s something that has life long consequences.”

During the pandemic, Gunraj says fewer women are working right now. In fact, female participation in the labour face is lower than it’s been in 30 years, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

-With files from 680 News

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