June 26, 2013 3:12 pm
Updated: October 16, 2013 8:46 pm

Canadian women studying more, still earning less

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Canadian women are gaining ground at school, but remain stuck when it comes to employment equity.

For the first time, females outshone their male counterparts overall in educational attainment. But their earning power still lags far behind. As statistics obtained by Global News indicate, more than 80 per cent of women in dual-income households still earn less than their husbands.

And households where women are the primary breadwinners are also poorer than those where men earn more – incomes averaging $105,1000 compared to $118,000.

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Those numbers have barely budged in a decade, even after the recession hit working men disproportionately hard.

And women are still earning less overall: Full-time, full-year workers earned an average of $47,300 in 2010, compared with $64,200 for men.

“Women’s education levels are matching and surpassing [men’s] now – but we’re still getting paid less. You have to work twice as hard” said Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“There is also some bias by employers to not promote or pay [women] as much as men.”

Numbers released Wednesday from Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey indicate that degree-holding women outnumber men – 64.8 per cent of working-age women now have a post-secondary education, compared with 63.4 per cent of men. More than 60 per cent of Canadians aged 25-34 with medical degrees are women.

But women remain confined to narrow areas of the working world: Overwhelmingly, they’re in child care, retail, nursing, administrative assistance; men dominate in trucking, carpentry, welding.

“Women who enter the workforce now see more opportunities. They have this message of  ’I can do anything’, then they realize they can’t do everything,” said Carleton University economist Frances Woolley.

She noted that the gender gap in wage and income is relative to class: Men who work in low-skill jobs don’t make much more than other women in low-skill jobs. The higher the class, the sharper the wage difference. 

With a report from the Canadian Press

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