How Wide is the Gender Pay Gap Two Years into the Pandemic?

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Did you know that Equal Pay Day is held on a different day every year? The date changes to symbolize how far into the year the average woman must work in order to earn what the average man had earned the previous year. In Canada, that day is today, April 12.

Even two years in, the pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on women in the workforce, with unemployment rates falling to levels not seen in decades. It may seem like some folks are starting to get back on their feet, but the rebuilding is only beginning. The systemic inequalities that set the stage for the challenges faced by women during the pandemic are still in place. On average, the gender pay gaps is 29.3% for all Ontario women.

The pay gap is more like a pay chasm when you consider women at the intersections of other marginalized identities, like racialized women, Indigenous women, Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ women, disabled women, newcomer women, and more. For newcomer women, the gap is 34%. For racialized women, the gap is 38%. And for disabled women, the gap increases to a whopping 56%.

So, what do we do? One place to start is advocating for policy change. The Ontario Equal Pay Coalition has a list of five calls to action for Ontario’s political parties and candidates to address in the upcoming election to support women’s economic justice:

  • Raising the minimum wage to a living wage.
  • Mandating paid sick days for workers.
  • Implementing the Pay Transparency Act.
  • Establishing affordable, accessible public childcare with decent wages and conditions for childcare workers.
  • Rebuilding the economy by funding public services and providing health, community & social services, and education workers with decent wages and working conditions.

This evening, the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition will be hosting a live debate with provincial party leaders Andrea Horwath, Steven Del Duca, and Mike Schreiner, for a Party Leaders Debate on Women’s Economic Equality. Questions will be posed by women who are experiencing the impact of the pandemic and inequality firsthand. Tune in for Equal Pay Day

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