It was the near end of my Sociology class and the very last assignment for the semester was going to be handed out; little did I know that this assignment would lead me to a dose of harsh reality of a gender pay gap that existed amongst Canadians.
My final Sociology assignment was to select a topic from a given list to do research on and write an essay on my findings. My professor mentioned that he preferred the class choose a topic from the list, however we were free to write an essay on a topic of our own choice, with his approval. Scrolling through the list, I didn’t find any of the topics relatable to me or any that stood out to me, so I decided to write on a different subject.
I was nervous going in to present my topic to my professor after class that day, as I didn’t want him to feel insulted that I didn’t choose a topic from his list. However, the topic I decided to write on was one that I was passionate about and one that I wanted to explore, so I went ahead and discussed it with my professor. The topic? It would be on the differences women and men face within the workforce. My professor’s thoughts? He loved the subject and encouraged me to go forth with the assignment. I was excited!
Initially, I didn’t know exactly what my research would lead me to, but I thought it would be something along the lines of finding out that, after a history of women being treated differently within the workplace, we would now be in a time where women were getting more career advancement opportunities within organizations and that little to no differences existed amongst men and women employees.
Well, it turns out that my research led me to discover something different. Not only were women not getting the same opportunities as men were in the workplace and their chances of being promoted were far less than that of men, but women were also being PAID LESS. I was speechless. Did I read the statistics correctly? Did I misread the study? These were the questions I was asking myself because I was in disbelief. It was the year 2007 and these were recent studies I had come across at that time- what was going on?!
My essay ended up being about the facts and statistics that proved there was a pay gap amongst genders, and women were not getting paid enough for the work they were doing. The studies I came across showed that women were being paid less for the same work men were doing and although the performance rate for women was high, they were not getting promoted to higher positions compared to men. Fast forward to today, a decade later, and I’m sad to state that unfortunately Canadian women, for the most part, are still making less than their male co-workers.
According to CBC radio, full-time working women are making 74.2 cents for every one dollar that men are making while working full-time within Canada (source). Apparently, this isn’t just a Canadian issue either, for the gender inequality exists in other developed countries such as the U.K (source).
Furthermore, a Global News article states that this inequality in pay is far greater for women who fall into the minority category, i.e women with disabilities, Indigenous women and so on (source). What’s equally alarming is the fact that jobs dominated by men, such as truck drivers, pay more than jobs dominated by women, i.e childhood educators (source).
Now, the big questions: Why is this inequality in pay still an issue, even today? What can we do to fix this ongoing problem?
Here are some steps we can take to move forward and in order for women to gain pay equality:
Bring awareness to this issue by discussing it with others, because the reality is that not many individuals are aware that this problems exists.
If you are a manager of an organization, look at the wages of your employees and determine if there is pay gap. If there is, acknowledge the difference and ask yourself what are the factors contributing to this pay gap within your company and how can you minimize or get rid of this discrepancy.
Companies need to be hiring more women and promoting them to higher positions they are qualified for. This is not to say there should be A higher number of women compared to men, but an equal amount of women to men, if possible.
EDUCATION AND SKILLS
Employers need to be looking at a women’s experience, education, and the skills she is bringing into the organization and pay her fairly based on this information. A women’s gender should not automatically translate to a lower wage.
Organizations need to be hiring women as a team leader that will represent female employees within the company and allow her to voice her concerns during company meetings. The corporate team, as a whole, needs to listen to the concerns and work with the female team leader to come up with solutions.
Women need to start negotiating a higher salary for themselves and not undersell themselves. Females should know their worth and not be afraid to ask for a pay increase, especially when their male co-workers are making more money for the same role. Furthermore, women shouldn’t be afraid to show what they are capable of achieving, for often times women underestimate their own value. Men are more likely to negotiate a higher salary for themselves and list all the reasons why they deserve a pay increase, however women usually don’t negotiate and feel like they are showing off when they do list their best qualities- this needs to change!
Moving forward, I would like to see society pay women fairly and justly for the work they are putting into society. I have hope for a better future, but we need to take action today in order for us to see any progress!
Let’s move FORWARD together,