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We need to talk about unequal pay between men and women for more than one day to bring awareness and change

By Melanie Sykes, CLAC Representative

April 9, 2019, was Equal Pay Day this year in Canada. This is the day that marked how long into 2019 it took before women earned as much as men did in 2018. 

It takes women, on average, over 15 months to earn the same amount that men do in 12 months. For women who are Indigenous, racialized, living with a disability, or a newcomer to the country, it takes even longer.

The purpose of Equal Pay Day is to highlight issues of inequality and create the discussions needed to bring about solutions. The day is recognized internationally but falls on different days, depending on the country and year.

A lot of people wore red on April 9 to signify women being in the “red” when it comes to their pay compared to men. A whole bunch of extra hashtags appeared on social media about Equal Pay Day.

So why am I mentioning this after the day happened? Because we need to talk about unequal pay between men and women for more than one day to bring awareness. Awareness leads to understanding. And understanding leads people to push for and implement changes needed to close the gap.

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, here are some things that you can do:

  • Read and learn.
  • Share the facts.
  • Send a letter to your MPP.
  • Donate to organizations that support women’s financial stability. 

In 2017, Statistics Canada said Canadian women were making 87 cents for every $1 earned by men. CLAC is committed to working to close the gender wage gap. 

  • We negotiate transparent and fair collective agreements where employees know their compensation package and what it is based on.
  • We lobby the government and bring awareness to “traditional female” jobs, which historically have had lower wage rates, such as personal support workers
  • We encourage women to enter the skilled trades, including by partnering with organizations such as Women Building Futures.
  • We sit on committees and advisory groups such as the Gender Wage Gap Working Group, which advised the Ontario government on ways to close the gender gap, and BuildForce Canada to help create respect in the workplace training programs.

We encourage you to know the facts about the gender wage gap. Let's work together to make December 31 Equal Pay Day every year.

Gender Wage Gap Resources 

Canadian Women’s Foundation

Statistics Canada

UN Women


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