Women's economic inequality
1. Lower employment levels relative to men
- Women are less likely than men to be employed in Canada.
- Although more women are in the Canadian workforce than ever before, they are in the workforce at a level that is 6-12% below men (2004).1
- The likelihood of being employed increases with education level, however, lower employment levels for women is independent of education level. Female college diploma holders, for example, were 8% less likely than men to be employed in 2004.2
2. Less full time work relative to men
- Women are far more likely than men to work part-time due to child care or other family responsibilities (18% of employed women compared to 2% of employed men in 2004).3
- Implications: less income, less income stability, no or limited health care benefits, no pensions.
3. Lower income levels relative to men
- Women earn less money than men in Canada. Women made an average of only 62% of what men make in 2003.4 (about $24,000 compared to $39,000)
- Even women working full time/full year earned 71% of what men working full time/full year did.5
- Women’s earnings are well below those of men in all occupational categories.6
- Even in 2007 – 2008, full time female university teaching staff at Canadian universities averaged 11% below their male counterparts.7
- The gap between the earnings of men and women has not changed substantially in the last decade.8
4. Lowest incomes are women’s incomes
- Women make up a disproportionate share of the population in Canada with low incomes.
- Almost two million Canadian women (1 in 8 or 12% of all women in Canada) lived in low income situations in 2004.9
- In 2005, 320,000 children, just under one-half of all the children in low-income families, lived in female lone-parent families. The low-income rate of children in female lone-parent families was more than four time higher than that of two-parent families.10
- Low income cut-offs (LICOs) are income thresholds, determined by analysing family expenditure data, below which families will devote a larger share of income to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family would. To reflect differences in the costs of necessities among different community and family sizes, LICOs are defined for five categories of community size and seven of family size.11, 12
- The approach is essentially to estimate an income threshold at which families are expected to spend 20 percentage points more than the average family on food, shelter and clothing.13
- Defining Poverty14 - Poverty refers to the intersection of low-income and other dimensions of 'social exclusion', including things such as access to adequate housing, essential goods and services, health and well-being and community participation.15○ Absolute Poverty means having less than an objectively defined minimum. This minimum may be based on the estimated costs of basic necessities.
○ Relative Poverty means having significantly less than the rest of the population. For example, poverty might be defined as having an income a certain percentage below the average income.
○ Subjective Poverty measures poverty by asking people how much they feel they need to get by, and takes into account that responses vary by the respondent’s income.
5. Single Mom income is the lowest and least stable of all family incomes
- Lone parent families headed by women have, by far, the lowest incomes of all family types.16 They earn 64% less than two spouse families with children and 40% less than lone parent families headed by men in 2003.17
- Between 2001 and 2003 the income level for single mom families dropped while all other family income rose.
- Lone parent families headed by women have the least stable incomes of all family groupings in Canada.18
- These families also are home to a disproportionate share of all children living in low income situations (43% of all low income family children were living with their single mom in 2003).19
- Thirty-eight per cent of lone parent families headed by women had incomes that are substantially worse off than the average family (below the Stats Canada Low Income Cut-Offs (LICO)) in 2003.20
- The situation for Aboriginal women is even worse, with 73% of lone parent mothers living below the LICO21 in 2000.
- Individuals with incomes below the LICO usually spend over 55%22 of their income on food, shelter and clothing and therefore having little or no income to spend on other essentials including transportation, health, recreation or insurance.23
- Women receive a larger portion of their income from government transfer payments than Canadian men do. These payments can include olda age security, Canada Pension plans, child tax benefits, social assistance and employment insurance.
- In 2003, 17% of the total income of women came from transfer payments, more than twice that of men (at 9%).24
- At that time, just 63% of the income of female headed lone parent families came from wages, salaries or self-employed income compared to 86% for male headed lone parent families.25
1. Housing affordability
- Affordable housing is defined as total housing costs, including utilities, should not exceed 30% of before-tax household income.
- 42% of renter families headed by a lone female had housing affordability problems in Canada in 2003.26
- Women in all situations are more likely than men to experience housing affordability issues.
- Low income families are twice as likely to live in shared, crowded, rented or sub-standard housing.They are also more likely to live near high traffic corridors or in unsafe neighbourhoods. All of these pose psychological and physical risks to health, especially to children.27
- Acute and chronic respiratory problems because of over-crowding or contaminants such as mold and mildew are more common in poor housing as are exposure to lead and asbestos.28 Injury, malnutrition, sleep deprivation, behavioral problems, and lower school performance are all more common when children are living in housing that is compromised.29
2. Whitehorse rental context
- The median rent30, usually without utilities, in Whitehorse was $700 in December 2007(for 4 or more unit buildings), or an increase of 3.7% from the previous year.
- Minimum wage in the Yukon rose from $8.37 to $8.58, or a 2.5% increase on April 1, 2008.31
- While the Yukon minimum wage rate was indexed against the Consumer Price Index in 2006, allowing minimum wage rates to be adjusted annually, the 2008 wage increase of 2.5% is less than the cost of rent increase (3.7%) over the same time period.
- For a person working full time (37.5 hours weekly) this is a gross income of $322 per week or approximately $1,288/month. After taxes, minimum wage is just over $1000/month. The average Whitehorse rent represents 70% of the wage figure, far in excess of what is defines as affordable.
Women and violence
- Number of spousal homicides in Canada (Provinces and territories by sex of victim) 1975 to 2004.
- Estimating violence against women is challenging due to the private nature of the experience. Police estimate that only 33% of spousal assaults and 10% of sexual assaults are reported.32
- Police report higher levels of violent crime in the territories, including sexual assault and spousal homicide, than in the provinces.33
- Canadian rates of spousal violence are higher in the territories than in the provinces (12% compared with 7%).34
- Being young and female are risk factors for sexual assault. Of reporting victims in Canada in 2004, 86% were female.35 Vulnerability of youth to sexual assault is emphasized by the fact that while youth represent only 22% of Canada’s population in 2004, it made up 58% of victims of sexual offences.36 Young women under 25 show the highest rates of sexual assault.37
- Women in common-law relationships of those who have been separated report rates of spousal abuse and homicide disproportionate to their representation in the Canadian population in 2004.38
- In the year ending March 31,2004, 52,127 women and 36,840 children were admitted to shelters nationally.39 Shelters tend to be used by women fleeing the most serious types of violence and do not represent all abused women.40
1 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.104. No stats for Yukon – provinces only.
2 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.104.
3 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.109
4 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.133
5 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.139
6 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.139
7 - Statistics Canada. Salaries and Salary Scales of Full-time Teaching Staff at Canadian Universities, 2007/2008: Preliminary Report. 2008. Women’s Directorate Summary chart.
8 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.139
9 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.143
10 - Stats Canada. Income in Canada 2005
11 - http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2007/statcan/75-202-X/75-202-XIE2005000.pdf Feb 14, 2008.
12 - Statistics Canada has clearly and consistently emphasized, since their publication began over 25 years ago, that the LICOs are quite different from measures of poverty. They reflect a consistent and well-defined methodology that identifies those who are substantially worse off than the average. In the absence of an accepted definition of poverty, these statistics have been used by many analysts who wanted to study the characteristics of the relatively worse off families in Canada. These measures have enabled Statistics Canada to report important trends such as the changing composition of this group over time.
14 - Phipps, S. The impact of poverty on health. A scan of the research literature. 2003. Ottawa, Canadian Institute for Health Information.
15 - http://www.gov.ns.ca/coms/department/backgrounders/poverty/Poverty_Stats-May2008.pdf
16 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.134
17 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.134
18 - Statistics Canada. Income Instability of Lone Parents, Singles and Two-Parent Families in Canada, 1984 to 2004. In all age groups, social assistance appears to be the single most important factor reducing income instability of lone mothers.
19 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.144
20 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.144
21 - 2000 figures reported in 2006 Statistics Canada.
22 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.145. LICOs are not official poverty lines.
23 - Craig, Melissa. Women and Poverty in the Yukon/Canada. April 2005.3.
24 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.135
25 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.136
26 - Statistics Canada. Women in Canada 2005. p.145
27 - Cooper M (January 2001.) Housing Affordability: A Children's Issue. Canadian Policy Research Networks Discussion paper.
28 - Beauvais C, Jenson J. (March 2003). The well-being of children : “are there neighbourhood effects“? Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks Inc.
29 - Canadian Institute of Child Health (2000). The Health of Canada’s Children: A CICH profile (3rd ed.). Ottawa: Author.
30 - Half the rents are higher and half the rents are lower.
31 - As reported in the Whitehorse Star and Yukon News Feb 12, 2008.
32 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.16.
33 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.15.
34 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.15.
35 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.36.
36 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.36
37 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.36
38 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.14
39 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.14.
40 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.16.
41 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.14.
42 - Ontario Native Women’s Association and the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres. A strategic Framework to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women referencing the 2004 General Social Survey. p.1
43 - Statistics Canada. Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. p.14