Pay Equity: One Step Toward Gender Wage Equality

Reduces income inequality

Simply put, there has been gender discrimination in many workplaces for decades. Pay equity is a way of eliminating sex and race discrimination in the wage-setting system. It would go a long way in reducing the amount of income inequality women experience.

Recent annual data shows that, in yearly earnings, women working full-time in Canada still earned 74.2 cents for every dollar that full-time male workers made, and this is regardless of age, education, experience or occupation.

Strengthens women’s economic status

When women are paid fairly, they can save money, provide more for their children, and fully participate in the local economy. Raising pay means better pensions for women so they can retire with dignity. It means women have greater economic freedom to care for themselves and others.

Encourages more diversity in the workforce

Following the process of pay equity would create opportunities to develop a diverse workplace strategy to get rid of the unconscious bias that often influences decision-making.

Researchers have found that occupational segregation — where women occupy the majority of positions in a job category — has been a major cause for the persistent wage gap, as average earnings tend to be lower the higher the percentage of female workers in an occupation. So, jobs in teaching, nursing, health care, and in clerical, administrative, and retail positions all suffer from this historic discrimination in wages.

Respects human rights

Creating a new work environment where women workers are paid their fair wage can be the perfect opportunity to improve the working conditions and wages for other workers who face discrimination as well. Indigenous workers, racialized workers, workers with disabilities, and LGBTQ workers are consistently paid lower wages than other workers.

But it’s about more than just money. In Canada, it is against our Charter of Rights and Freedoms to discriminate based on sex. Canada has signed international conventions vowing to create equality and respect human rights. Pay equity allows governments to improve women’s economic status and strengthen human rights.

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