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Statistics: Women and Work

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The increased participation of women in the workforce is one of the most significant social trends in the past 30 years...

  • The employment rate for women aged 15 to 64 in Ontario is 68% (2012), up from over 51% in 1976.1
  • Women comprise 48% of the employed labour force in Canada (2011).2
  • 55% of all Canadian doctors and dentists are female (2009), up from 43% in 1987.3

Yet women in Ontario are still less likely than men to be employed…

  • The employment rate for men aged 15 to 64 is 74%, six percent higher than the rate for their female counterparts (2012).4
  • Over 73% of women with a university degree are employed, in comparison to 77% of men (2012).5
  • Just over 29% of women with some high school education are employed, in comparison to more than 40% of men (2012).6

The percentage of women in small business has increased…

  • The number of self-employed women in Canada grew by 23% from 2001 to 2011, compared with a 14% growth rate for men.7
  • 17% of small businesses in Ontario are majority-owned by women (2010).8

Women are more likely than men to work part-time…

  • Women have accounted for about 7 out of 10 of part-time employees in Canada since the late 1970s (2009).9

Many women in Canada work part-time because of family responsibilities…

  • 34% of female part-time workers aged 25 to 44 work part-time because they are caring for children,10 in comparison to more than 3% of their male counterparts (2012).11

Yet, at the same time, more women with children are working than ever before…

  • 64% of Canadian women with children under the age of 3 are employed (2009), more than double the figure in 1976.12
  • More than 72% of women with children under the age of 16 are part of the employed workforce (2009).13

However, women with children are still less likely to be employed than women without children…

  • Over 80% of women without children are employed (2009).14

Women who are single parents are less likely to be employed than women in two-parent families…

  • More than 68% of female single parents with children are employed, compared with over 73% of their counterparts in two-parent families (2009).15

Women remain over-represented in traditional areas of female employment…

  • Of all employed women in Canada, 27% work in sales and service occupations, more than 24% work in business, finance and administration occupations, and more than 16% hold occupations related to education, law and social, community and government services (2011).16
  • Women account for more than 9 out of 10 administrative assistants, registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, early childhood educators and assistants, and receptionists (2011).17

The majority of minimum wage earners in Ontario are women…

  • It is estimated that women account for more than 57% of minimum wage workers, though they account for just over 49% of all employees (2011).18
  • More than 10% of female employees work for the minimum wage, in comparison to over 7% of male employees (2011).19
  • More than 11% of employed women over the age of 25 worked for the minimum wage from 2009 to 2011, an increase from 6% during 2003 to 2005.20

Women make up a growing share of employees holding more than one job…

  • 56% of multiple job holders are women (2009).21

Certain groups of women are less likely to be employed…

  • Over 68% of immigrant women aged 25 to 54 are employed, about 11 points lower than the rate for their Canadian-born counterparts (2011).22
  • Over 52% of Aboriginal women are employed, in comparison to more than 57% of women in Canada (2012).23

Certain groups of women are more likely to be unemployed…

  • Women who are very recent immigrants have one of the highest unemployment rates: more than 14% of all recent immigrant women, and just over 13% of recent immigrant women aged 25 to 54, are unemployed (2012)..24
  • More than 8% of all immigrant women are unemployed, in comparison to just over 6% of their Canadian counterparts (2012).25
  • In the 25 to 54 age group, more than 8% of immigrant women are unemployed, in comparison to over 4% of their Canadian counterparts (2012).26
  • More than 12% of Aboriginal women are unemployed, in comparison to over 6% of women in Canada (2012).27

Women are more likely to receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits than their male counterparts…

  • For women between the ages of 25 and 39, a larger share of their income comes from EI, in comparison to their male counterparts. This is partly due to maternal benefits under the EI program.28
  • In the 30 to 34 age group, more than 5% of the total income for women comes from EI benefits, in comparison to just over 2% for men.29
  • Women aged 30 to 34 receive a median amount of $7,400 in EI benefits, in comparison to $4,300 for their male counterparts.30

There is a wage gap between the average earnings of men and women…

  • The gender wage gap in Ontario is 28% for full-time, full-year workers (2011), a decrease from 36% in 1987. In other words, for every dollar earned by a male worker, a female worker earns 71 cents (2011).31
  • On average, a woman in Ontario earns $33,600 annually, while a man earns $49,000 (2011).32
  • For workers with less than a grade 9 education, women’s earnings are 51% of those of men (2008).33
  • While the wage gap narrows for those with higher levels of education, women working full-year, full-time with a university degree earn about 30% less than equally educated men (2008).34

1Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 282-0002 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by sex and detailed age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 21, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2820002&paSer=&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=37&tabMode=dataTable&csid=.

2Statistics Canada. (2013). Portrait of Canada's Labour Force. National Household Survey, 2011. Minister of Industry. Pg. 10.

3Statistics Canada. (2010). Paid Work. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 21.

4Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 282-0002 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by sex and detailed age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 21, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2820002&pattern=&csid=

5Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 282-0004 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by educational attainment, sex and age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 21, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2820004&paSer=&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=37&tabMode=dataTable&csid

6Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 282-0004 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by educational attainment, sex and age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 21, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2820004&paSer=&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=37&tabMode=dataTable&csid.

7Industry Canada. (2012). Key Small Business Statistics. Ottawa, ON: Public Works and Government Services Canada. Pg. 38.

8Industry Canada. (2012). Key Small Business Statistics. Ottawa, ON: Public Works and Government Services Canada. Pg. 39.

9Statistics Canada. (2010). Paid Work. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 13.

10Statistics Canada. (2013). Reasons for part-time work by sex and age group (Women), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 23, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/labor63c-eng.htm.

11Statistics Canada. (2013). Reasons for part-time work by sex and age group (Men), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 23, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/labor63b-eng.htm.

12Statistics Canada. (2010). Paid Work. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 10.

13Statistics Canada. (2010). Paid Work. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 9.

14Statistics Canada. (2010). Paid Work. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 9.

15Statistics Canada. (2010). Paid Work. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 11.

16Statistics Canada. (2013). Portrait of Canada's Labour Force. National Household Survey, 2011. Minister of Industry. Pg. 10.

17Statistics Canada. (2013). Portrait of Canada's Labour Force. National Household Survey, 2011. Minister of Industry. Pg. 10.

18Block, S. (2013). Who Is Working For Minimum Wage In Ontario? Toronto, ON: Wellesley Institute. Pg. 6.

19Block, S. (2013). Who Is Working For Minimum Wage In Ontario? Toronto, ON: Wellesley Institute. Pg. 2.

20Block, S. (2013). Who Is Working For Minimum Wage In Ontario? Toronto, ON: Wellesley Institute. Pg. 4.

21Statistics Canada. (2010). Paid Work. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 18.

22Statistics Canada. (2012). The Immigrant Labour Force Analysis Series. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry. Pg. 19.

23Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. (2013). Aboriginal Labour Market Bulletin, Volume 2, Issue 2 (Spring 2013). Retrieved on October 24, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/aboriginal/bulletins/spring2013.shtml#fnb2a.

24Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 282-0106 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by immigrant status, educational attainment, sex and age group, Canada, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 21, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=2820106&pattern=2820106&searchTypeByValue=1&p2=35.

25Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 282-0106 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by immigrant status, educational attainment, sex and age group, Canada, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 21, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=2820106&pattern=2820106&searchTypeByValue=1&p2=35.

26Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 282-0106 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by immigrant status, educational attainment, sex and age group, Canada, annual (persons unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 21, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=2820106&pattern=2820106&searchTypeByValue=1&p2=35.

27Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. (2013). Aboriginal Labour Market Bulletin, Volume 2, Issue 2 (Spring 2013). Retrieved on October 24, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/aboriginal/bulletins/spring2013.shtml#fnb2a.

28Statistics Canada. (2013). Income Composition in Canada. National Household Survey, 2011. Minister of Industry. Pg. 12.

29Statistics Canada. (2013). Income Composition in Canada. National Household Survey, 2011. Minister of Industry. Pg. 12.

30Statistics Canada. (2013). Income Composition in Canada. National Household Survey, 2011. Minister of Industry. Pg. 12.

31Pay Equity Commission. (2011). The Gender Wage Gap. Retrieved on October 23, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/about/wagegap.php.

32Statistics Canada. (2013). Table 202-0101 Distribution of earnings, by sex, 2011 constant dollars, annual, CANSIM (database). Retrieved on October 23, 2013. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=2020101&pattern=2020101&searchTypeByValue=1&p2=35.

33Statistics Canada. (2010). Economic Well-being. Ottawa: Minister of Industry. Pg. 15.

34Statistics Canada. (2010). Economic Well-being. Ottawa: Minister of Industry. Pg. 15.