It’s common knowledge that your biological sex and racial background impact your earning power.
The most recent Statistics Canada data (from 2011) shows that the gender wage gap in Ontario is 26 per cent for full-time workers. This means that for every $1 earned by a male worker, a female worker earns 74 cents. As for race disparity, there is a legitimate slew of problems, including job inaccessibility, non-recognition of foreign degrees, chronic unemployment, and of course, lower wages.
But what about your sexual orientation? Over the last two decades, research has surfaced supporting the unfortunate truth that if you’re a gay man, chances are you earn less income than your straight male counterparts. Interestingly, if you’re a lesbian, studies show you’ll make more money than your straight female colleagues (IF you’re not in a relationship).
A recent study out of McGill University, which looked at “wage penalties” based on sexual orientation, pinpointed that gay men in relationships make five per cent less than heterosexual men; lesbians in relationships, nine per cent less.
But despite biological sex, race, and sexual orientation, one group of people is persistently maligned: straight women. In all four groups — straight men and women and gay men and women — heterosexual women made the least money.
“Our research found a hierarchy of earnings where heterosexual men earned the most, followed by gay men, lesbians and finally heterosexual women,” said study author Sean Waite. “In all of our analysis, heterosexual women were the most disadvantaged group.”
It seems like being a woman doesn’t bode well for you in Canadian workplaces — gay or straight.
The wage disparity for those in the sexual minority appeared to be reduced or virtually eliminated in the public sector, which is limited by unionization. The biggest wage gaps were found in the highest paid occupations, such as management and business.