#business#canada#gender inequality#pay gap#representation

Gender inequality costs Canada $150bn, finds McKinsey report

Callum Rivett
|Jun 22|magazine6 min read

Gender inequality costs Canada around $150bn in lost potential income, according to a McKinsey report on the gender gap. This is despite Canada ranking in the top 10 countries for gender equality as recently as 2015, but a fall has seen them slip to 35th. 

The findings offer the frustrating realization that progress on the gender equality front has stalled in Canada for the past 20 years. At current rates, the WEF have predicted that it would take another 170 years for the gender pay gap to close, with females currently being paid $8,000 less than their male counterparts for the same work - a gap that the United Nations says is twice the global average.

By taking steps to address the issue, McKinsey found that Canadian provinces could add an extra 4 to 9% to their GDP, which would translate to a 6% growth domestically.

Ultimately, the problems are widespread and as such, Canada has lost its place as a driving force of women's rights. For instance, only 26% of their 338 members of parliament are female whilst Rwanda boast laws that require equal representation in parliament, and Iceland has 30 female MPs out of 63. 

Around 53% of degree holders in Canada are female, yet only 45% of all entry level employees are female and this number decreases the higher in a company's pecking order you look. 25% of vice presidents are female whilst they occupy only 15% of roles as CEOs.

Figures like these suggest that at each stage, women are less and less likely to earn a promotion, which is not due to a lack of ambition but to a lack of opportunity.

This is further amplified by the fact that half of the companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange do not have a single female director on their board. 

Looking forwards, there is a distinct lack of female representation in science, technology, engineering, and math - collectively known as STEM - due to a lack of women teachers, an absence of role models and a dominance of male employees, which would cause problems as those fields are where the higher-paying jobs of the future currently sit. 

Women still tend to dominate the 'traditionally feminine' fields such as nursing and social care, with the figures of representation not differentiating too much from 1987, whilst 75% of jobs in professional sciences are occupied by men.  

McKinsey's report does praise Canada for reducing the pay gap in the past, but the lack of progress since the turn of the century and the glass ceiling is holding back the Canadian economy.