GRSJ224/A Statistical Analysis on the Gender Wage Gap
Introduction to the Issue
A common mantra mentioned among advocates for gender equality is that “Women earn 74 cents for every dollar that a man earns"  Out of 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and development, Canada had the highest gender wage gap in 2014. This is intriguing considering that in 2006/2007, women accounted for 56% of college enrolments and 59% of graduates; and 62% of all university undergraduate degrees were awarded to women. The aim of this page is to address the accuracy behind these statistics and determine to what degree workplace discrimination exists, and to objectively analyze the statistics without personal bias.
Women in the Workforce
According to the Labour Force Survey, 82.0% of women in the core working ages of 25-44 years participated in the labour market in 2015. On one hand, this statistic shows tremendous growth in the last 50, and even 20, years - only 21.6% and 65.2% of women participated in the labour market, respectively; on the other hand, each year these numbers are still less than the male participation rate in the labour marketCite error: Invalid
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Possible Statistical Biases
The statistic that the ratio of income earnings of women:men is 0.74 is derived from taking the annual income of all full-time women ($52,500) in the workplace and dividing it by the annual income by all males ($70,700) in the workplaceCite error: Invalid
<ref> tag; refs with no name must have content.. This statistic has one important bias to note: it does not account for the discrepancy in hours worked. Women, including those who work full-time, work fewer hours on average than men who work full-timeCite error: Invalid
<ref> tag; refs with no name must have content.. To achieve a more accurate representation of the wage gap, the hourly average income of women ($25.38/hour, in 2014) should be divided by the average income of men ($28.92, in 2014), which yields an income ratio of 0.88. This is a notably smaller gap than before, however, the wage gap still undeniably exists. It is also interesting to note the progression over time. In 1988, this ratio was 0.77, and it had closed to 0.82 by 1994.
Possible Explanations for the Gender Pay Gap
Choices of Occupation
One factor that needs to be addressed to continue to close the gap is the dispersion of women into a variety of fields that are traditionally male-dominated. Some scholars cite that common reasons why women are reluctant to join in male dominated professions may be due to the fear of experiencing discrimination, lack of female role models, and lack of social support. In 2009, 67% of all employed women were working in teaching, nursing and related health occupations, clerical or other administrative positions, or sales and service occupations. This is more than double the percentage of employed men who work in these occupationsCite error: Closing
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<ref> tag. This wage growth persisted, disregarding gender - all long-hour workers saw their relative wages increaseCite error: Closing
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The wage gap is still a prevalent issue in society. However, statistics are often misinterpreted, particularly the statistic that divides the average annual income of women:men. Further, the conclusion that women are oppressed and face discrimination in the workplace due to gender may very well be true, however this statistic alone should not be the sole basis upon which this statement is drawn. This article only analyzes the statistic that comprises the discourse of the gender pay gap in Canada and does not address the other inequalities women face in the workplace. In conclusion, it is undeniable that women earn less than men in the workplace, however, there is not sufficient evidence that points to sexism as the primary motivator for this discrepancy.
- Canadian Women's Foundation. The Facts About The Gender Wage Gap In Canada. (2017, February). Retrieved October 22, 2017, from http://www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-the-gender-wage-gap-in-canada>
- Turcotte, M. (2015, November 30). Paid Work. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2010001/article/11542-eng.htm#a8
- Moyser, M. (2017, March 9). Paid Work. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14694-eng.htm
- Richman, L., Vandellen, M., & Wood, W. (2011). How Women Cope: Being a Numerical Minority in a Male-Dominated Profession. Journal of Social Issues, 67(3), 492-509. Retrieved October 22, 2017
- Ferrao, V. (2017, February 21). Paid Work. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2010001/article/11387-eng.htm#a17