Statistics Canada has just released the results from the 2016 Census, and the results show that women are entering the workforce at a higher rate than in previous years.
According to the recent census, one third of heterosexual couples report that the woman’s financial contribution is finally comparable to the man’s in a household. The census gathered data to represent the 8.2 million heterosexual couples living in Canada and found that 32 per cent made comparable salaries that were within 40 to 60 per cent of one another. This is a huge jump from 30 years ago, when only 20.6 per cent of heterosexual couples in Canada were making a comparable salary to their partner.
In a news brief issued with the new census data, Statistics Canada remarked on the findings: “Many factors have contributed to this advance, led by the increased labour force participation of women. Combined with a narrowing of the gender wage gap, women now contribute a larger portion of the couple’s combined income.”
But just because the gap between Canadian couples’ income is closing slightly, women still aren’t being paid equal to their male counterparts. The census data found that women still make on average less than men, with only 17.3 per cent of heterosexual households counting the woman as the main earner. This number becomes even more striking when considering the fact that 96 per cent of households reported both spouses earning some form of income in 2015.
This wage gap is also true for same-sex couples. On average, male couples reported a median income of $100,707 in 2015, while female couples earned a median of $92,857. The data also found that, on average, same-sex couples earn more than heterosexual couples.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the gender wage gap. Sexism in the workplace, though illegal, is still commonplace in most industries. Family obligations are also a large obstacle in the way of a woman’s ability to reach her full earning potential. Women often have to step away from their careers for extended periods of time when raising children, often bearing the brunt of childcare responsibility beyond pregnancy. As the aging population in Canada continues to live longer, caring for elderly parents is yet another responsibility that often falls on the shoulders of women.
Looks like we still have a long way to go, Canada.