Canadian women still take home, on average, 30% less each year than what men earn. We call that shortfall “the gender wage gap.” And it’s even greater if you are a racialized woman (over 35%) or an Aboriginal woman (over 40%).
The gender wage gap has been with us a long time! Even now, when Canadian women are as well or more educated than men, it persists. Because women are more likely to work in low-paid, insecure jobs. Because women’s work is undervalued.
Being in a union is one of the best ways to close the gender wage gap.
April 19 is called Equal Pay Day, and not just because it’s a day to come together with other allies to call for wage fairness for women. It’s because it takes one full year AND until April 19 of the next year for Canadian women to earn as much as men earn in just 12 months alone. In other words, Canadian women had to work all of 2015 AND up to April 19, 2016 just to earn as much as the average male worker did in the 12 months of 2015.
So what can we do about it?
To close the gender wage gap, our union can:
- Organize new members.
- Pressure governments to pass or strengthen pay-equity laws, laws that provide leaves of absence for family care-givers and domestic-violence victims, and laws that make it easier to organize unions.
- Demand quality, affordable, public childcare, with living wages for childcare workers.
- Treat the gender wage gap as a human rights issue.
- At the bargaining table, push for transparent pay, hiring and promotion practices to close the gender wage gap and open up higher-paid classifications to women.
- Ensure job evaluation accurately reflects women’s work.
- Strengthen women’s voices in our union, in organizing, bargaining, job evaluation and in leadership positions.