OTTAWA – Alberta’s two largest cities are among the worst places for women in Canada, while Quebec City is the best, a new study finds.
The study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looked at gender inequality in 20 cities from Vancouver to St. John’s.
It found Edmonton was the worst, while Calgary rated 17 out of 20.
Kate McInturff, senior researcher of the CCPA, said in an interview wage gaps between men and women, low levels of women’s political representation and violence against women “all combined to produce the lower rankings for those two cities.”
“We should be coordinating our efforts so that we’re raising a level of women’s well-being across the country, not just in one city at a time,” she said.
McInturff says the reason for inequality is two-fold: women make less money in the same industries as men, and they stick to industries that make less money in the first place.
The wage gap is almost 30 per cent in some cases, she said, because women work mostly in the female-dominated service industry, while men stick to the more lucrative trades and extraction-based industries.
The study also said women are three times as likely to hold a part-time job and nearly twice as likely to work for minimum wage, than men.
Quebec City dominated the ranks at number one.
Saskatoon was second, while St. John’s ranked third.
All the major cities in Quebec – including Montreal, Sherbrooke and Quebec City –placed in the top ten, better than other provinces in Canada.
The study showed that the higher representation of women in politics, pay equity programs, and the lowest per capita rate of intimate partner violence and police-reported sexual assaults were what gave Quebec City the upper hand.
Halifax, which placed 9th, has the smallest gap in overall employment and full-time work for women, but it has one of the biggest wage gaps and more women living in poverty than men.
The study was factored into five different areas; economic security, leadership, health, personal security and education. It focused on the gap between men and women and not the specific levels of wellbeing or wealth in a community.
McInturff says that the study was created to map some of the breaks between gender equality, not to make efforts to close the gaps.
“I don’t want everyone to move to Quebec City, the hope is that everyone will be in an equally good place to live as a woman in Canada,” she said.
“The way to make sure that we have cities that are all performing well in Canada is to make sure that we’re translating the programs that are working in one place, into other places.”
McInturff says she hopes the study will spark conversations between people at a local level and speak to those at provincial and federal levels.
Here is the list of the best places for women in Canada:
1. Québec City
3. St. John’s
14. St. Catharines
© Shaw Media, 2014