A new report highlighting the situation of girls and women in the Greater Montreal area shows there is still a long road ahead before gender equality is reached.
Women from all backgrounds, sexual orientations and ethnicities were included in the study. It is the first of its kind in the province and serves to reach beyond general data.
The 72-page report reveals a multitude of stats focusing on the women and girls of the Greater Montreal area. Three key issues are highlighted: violence against women, their mental health, as well as their working conditions and integration into the workplace.
“With this data, I hope we will have more specific public policy focused on the groups that really need it instead of having general policies,” said Mia Homsy the president and CEO of the Institut du Québec.
The study shows just how prevalent the problem of intimate family violence is for women. In Montreal, more than one in five women in a relationship reported that their partner had engaged in violent behaviour. More than half the femicides or criminal harassment crimes were caused by a significant other, while Indigenous women are far more likely to experience and report sexual assault.
This comes as no surprise for Nakuset, the executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal.
“It is important to get these numbers out to get the actual picture of what is going on with women in Montreal, however, what is the next step?” she asked.
She added that the statistics mean nothing if concrete solutions aren’t adopted. But that comes with challenges.
“There are so many issues facing Indigenous women that it seems like every day there is a new sort of call to action and a call for proposals and a call for new solutions,” said Nakuset.
“We need more programming, we need more support in youth protection.”
There is common ground in the study: women from all backgrounds still struggle with the pay gap. On average, they earn nine per cent less than men per hour.
Researchers hope the data will help shed a light on the eclectic issues women face and say too many women are still running into multiple barriers that keep them from thriving.