|Sub-Category:||GENERAL & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY|
|Club:||Trenton & District; Belleville|
BACKGROUND: In 1987 the Ontario government passed the Pay Equity Act which was supposed to address systemic gender discrimination between wages earned by females and males by comparing jobs, “based on skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions” (Ministry of Labour, 2015, p 11). Since then Ontario women continue to be “overrepresented in lower-paying occupations and industries, make up a disproportionate number of employees in minimum wage and part-time positions, and remain underrepresented in many higher paying jobs and sectors that have traditionally been male-dominated” (Ministry of Labour, 2015, p. 3). Unlike pay equity, gender wage gap (GWG) is “the difference between the earnings of men and women” (Ministry of Labour, 2015, p 3). These differences are the result of various factors such as stereotypical views about certain jobs, organizational structures, processes including hiring and professional development practices and contribute to lost economic opportunities for women (Ministry of Labour, 2015; Peach & Harris, 2013).
In 2010, nearly 2.3 million women worked full-time, and over 800,000 women working part-time compared to nearly 2.8 million males working full-time and under 500,000 males in part-time employment. In 2014, dual-earning families rose from 41.8% on 1976 to 68.2%. A common reason for the number of women absent from the workforce was associated with childcare cost or lack of availability. In 2014, reasons for female part-time employment was associated with childcare or other family responsibilities (Ministry of Labour, 2015).
Removing barriers for women means businesses can broaden their talent pool by tapping into the larger portion of the labour market (Ministry of Labour, 2015). Premier Wynne in 2014 mandated a GWG strategy be developed (Ministry of Labour, 2016). The Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee [GWGSSC] in their 2016 report stated, “Achieving greater pay equality between men and women would benefit Ontario’s economy and society at large. The gender wage gap is both an issue of fairness and an economic imperative. Failure to address this gap could undermine the competitiveness of Ontario businesses and the province’s potential for economic growth” (Ministry of Labour, 2016, p. 5) As of 2011, women make up over half of Ontario’s population with 83.9% of the population being females aged fifteen years and older. In Ontario, 5,408,950 women are in the labour force. This translates to 2.1% Aboriginal, 25% racialized, and 72.9% of non-Aboriginal, non-racialized women in the labour force but Ontario’s GWG remains at 31.5%. Racialized females also have a lower employment rate (54.4%) than the broader population and racialized males (63.9%) (Ministry of Labour, 2015).
The GWGSSC’S report final twenty recommendations focus on five key focus areas:
• balancing work and caregiving;
• valuing work which focuses on simplifying pay equity law; female-dominant sectors; and pay equity;
• workplace practices need for pay transparency, gender workplace analysis, and women on boards;
• challenging gender stereotype by increasing social awareness, and addressing gender bias in education, and encouraging skilled trades training; and
• the ways the government can close the GWG by focusing on the gender based analysis, looking at government contracts and procurements policies, and accessing pay equity, employment standards, and anti-discrimination laws. While all of the recommendations address GWG, Recommendations 1, 9, 10, 13, and 17 have the greatest potential of being implemented quickly and significantly begin to address GWG (Ministry of Labour, 2016). REFERENCES: Ministry of Labour. (2015). Closing the gender wage gap: A background paper. Toronto: Author. Retrieved from https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/pdf/gg_background.pdf
Ministry of Labour. (2016). Final report and recommendations of the gender wage gap strategy steering committee prepared for Minister of Labour and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. Toronto: Author. Retrieved from https://files.ontario.ca/7198_mol_gwg_finalreport_eng_wa_08f_v2_1.pdf
Peach, L. & Harris, C.. (2013). Gender Pay Gap Taskforce Report: Recommendations on calculating, interpreting and communicating the gender pay gap. Australia: Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Retrieve from https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/2013-09-02%20WGEA%20GPG%20Ta:skforce%20Report%20FINAL_0.pdf
RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Labour, and the Minister of the Status of Women to immediately adopt and implement the twenty recommendations as outlined in the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee 2016 Final Report;
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Labour and the Minister of the Status of Women to commit to implementing the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee 2016 Final Report’s Recommendations 1, 9, 10, 13, and 17 within the next six to twelve months.
©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com
Article ID: 4383