With the wage gap still on the rise and a growing number of women starting their careers after childbirth, many of us are beginning to question why it’s that the average man is getting paid more than the average woman.
The reasons are varied, ranging from career advancement to parental leave to gender-based pay equity laws.
But in general, women are paid less than men.
What do these discrepancies look like in Canada?
How do we understand the phenomenon and what can we do about it?
In a new study, Statistics Canada looks at gender pay gaps across the country, finding that women are being paid less by men than in any other country.
Statistics Canada surveyed 1,200 employers, including small businesses, in the year 2016.
This data is based on interviews with all employers, not just those that have been surveyed over the past five years.
The survey found that the gender gap in pay was about 12 per cent across all industries in 2016.
There are other differences that make the gap even larger.
For example, women earn significantly less than their male counterparts.
Women are also paid less on average than men in every province, except Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario.
In the Greater Toronto Area, where Toronto is located, women’s average hourly earnings are nearly 25 per cent less than the national average.
In fact, the average hourly wage for women in Ontario is almost 25 per per cent lower than in Manitoba.
For women in the Northwest Territories, the gap in earnings is even larger: women earn more than men across the province, on average, and in the Yukon, they earn less than half as much as men.
“The gender pay difference has not gone away,” said Statistics Canada director of economic analysis and research Michelle Fauci.
“It has just grown bigger.”
The gap in wages can vary widely across industries.
Some industries have a gender pay parity across industries and all workers in that industry are paid the same.
For instance, in construction, men and women are equally paid in construction and non-construction industries, and they receive equal pay for the same job.
In other industries, women may be paid more, but they are not paid the full amount.
The differences in pay may be due to different levels of responsibility in the workplace.
Women in construction work more often than men, for example, while women in agriculture and fishing tend to work fewer hours than men and in many cases, men work less hours than women.
There is also a gender wage gap across professions.
Women tend to be paid less for lower-paying jobs in construction than in agriculture or forestry, while men are paid more for higher-paying work.
But, for the most part, the gender wage difference is much smaller than the gender-related wage gap.
The difference in pay can vary across industries, but it can be particularly pronounced in health care.
Health care workers tend to earn more in the private sector than in the public sector, and pay more than their female counterparts in the same sector.
Women make up about 70 per cent of health care workers in Canada.
But their pay is only slightly more than that of their male colleagues.
For this reason, Statistics Quebec has set up a special unit called the Women in Health Care Wage Program to monitor and investigate the pay gaps in health services.
Statistics Quebec’s wage gap is about 12 cents on the dollar, compared to the national gap of about 15 cents.
The province recently announced it would be extending its pay gap monitoring program to all sectors of the economy.
“We are doing our best to address these wage gaps,” said Michelle Félix, the director of the wage program.
“But we can’t ignore them.
This is a persistent problem.”
A small, but growing problem The gender pay imbalance can be traced to a number of factors, including the fact that more and more people are entering the labour force in more and different occupations than in past generations.
A report released by Statistics Canada last year found that there were about 2.3 million women entering the workforce in 2016, up from 1.6 million in 2000.
But many women are entering careers in nursing, health care, social work, public administration and social work.
This increase in participation is a good sign, said Félicix, but the issue is not necessarily limited to female-dominated fields.
“In nursing, we have a very large gender wage differential, which is something that has been growing over time,” she said.
“For example, the number of nursing homes we have now, they’re mostly female-run.
They are predominantly female-owned.”
That said, it’s important to note that the pay gap is not exclusively caused by women in nursing.
The gender wage differences in health-care work, in particular, can be attributed to differences in the way health-related professionals perform their jobs.
In general, the more senior the nurse, the higher the pay.
“These are women who are in the profession for many years, and when they retire they are often doing a lot of work in the home