What’s the best city in Canada to live in if you’re a woman? This year, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says it’s Kingston.
The centre’s fifth annual report, The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada, ranked 26 large municipalities across the country on five criteria — economic opportunity, health, educational attainment, leadership and political empowerment and personal security.
The report focuses on gender gaps in Canada — measurements that show whether men and women have the same access to resources and opportunities in their respective cities.
Although the report says disparities between the two genders have been shrinking across the nation, gaps still exist across the board.
“Women earn less than men even when they have the same education, experience and work in the same field,” the report read.
This year, although Kingston ranked first and Barrie ranked last, the centre noted there is a small variation in each city’s overall rankings.
“There is not a very large difference between the best place to be a woman in Canada and the worst.”
It’s important to note that most of the numbers discussed in the report are from 2017 and 2016.
But for this year’s report, Kingston ranked first, namely due to its top ranking score in education and second-place spot in economic security.
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In 2017, the numbers show that Kingston had the most educated female workforce of the 26 cities featured in the report. In fact, more women held post-secondary degrees in Kingston than men.
One in three women aged 25 to 64 had university degrees and four in 10 held college degrees.
As for economic opportunity, Kingston placed second. The centre found that just about as many women were employed in the city as men, and over three-quarters of women in the city worked in full-time positions.
In 2016, women in Kingston were making 78.1 per cent of what men earned, a gap the report claimed to be relatively small.
“We can therefore say that women’s economic standing in Kingston is roughly comparable to the standing of men as measured by these indicators,” the report read.
Kingston placed eighth for overall health of its female citizens but lagged in the leadership and personal security categories.
Only 26 per cent of Kingston’s elected officials are female, below the average for large cities in Canada, which sits at 35 per cent. This made Kingston dip to 20th place in political leadership among the 26 cities ranked.
Despite the low political numbers, the report said outside of municipal politics, women held about 40 per cent of management-level jobs.
Kingston also ranked 16 of 26 for women’s personal security, which was affected by the city’s high rate of sexual assault and criminal harassment incidents targeting female victims.
In 2017, Kingston’s police-reported rate of sexual assault among women was over 120 per 100,000 population, putting it in 22nd place out of 26.
These numbers may be nuanced, since Kingston police have made a concerted effort in the last two years to encourage reporting of sexual assaults in the city.