“I certainly do not accept the argument that [Canada] should be fifteenth out of twenty-nine OECD in terms of pay gap between men and women.” So declared federal finance minister Bill Morneau on the cusp of International Women’s Day in an address to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce about the just-released federal budget.
Also in the room: female executives listening to him, female journalists reporting on the event, female servers filling everyone’s coffee cups—and the elephant that is the knowledge that the lot earn just 88 cents for every dollar the guys in the room do.
You coulda asked a Girl Guide.
The Girl Guides of Canada has published the results of its nationwide survey of teenage girls, and its findings reveal a poignant acknowledgement of this unbalanced scene by Canadians too young to play a part in it.
The report—Women in the Workforce: Impact on Girls—uncovered that girls aged 15-17 face the same inequalities and stereotypes that women in the workplace do, including a persistent gender wage gap, lack of work opportunities and a paucity of female role models.
Worse, this worldview is influencing their personal aspirations and futurecasts.
Among the report’s findings of its 15-17-year-old female survey participants:
- 24% don’t feel motivated to pursue their dream career because they’re concerned they’ll be compensated less than their male counterparts;
- 25% say they don’t know any female role models who have their dream job;
- 19% say their teachers treat them differently because they’re girls;
- 12% say an adult has excluded or prevented them from joining a club or team specifically because they’re girls.
March 8, is International Women’s Day the world over. This international event celebrates the achievements of women, and galvanizes a population around a call for gender parity.
“Getting [there] may be a challenge,” Morneau conceded in Calgary. “But even if we were able to close half that gap, getting two percent more added to our economy . . . means that we could have a material and significant impact on growth.”
Bring it already.