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Overview

The gender wage gap is the difference in remuneration for paid work between women and men. There are many ways to calculate the gap, depending on what employment dynamics you want to identify.[1] Failure to offer equal pay for equal work, where women are paid less than men for performing the same job, accounts for a ~95 cent wage gap. More of the wage gap is explained by mothers who change jobs to ones with greater flexibility to manage their carework responsibilities. This often means switching to jobs that pay less and takes the wage gap to ~88 cents. When comparing annual earnings for both part-time and full-time workers in Canada, an even larger gender wage gap exists of ~70 cents, primarily because women more often work part-time in order to accommodate carework responsibilities.[2]

In Canada, the gender wage gap ranges from 95 cents to 70 cents.

Sources of the gender wage gap

The gender wage gap varies by race and ethnicity.[3] According to The 2011 National Household Survey, when full-time median employment income is analyzed there is a ~92 cent wage gap between visible and non-visible minority women and a ~72 cent wage gap between visible minority men and women.[4] Earnings disparities are evident among transgender individuals as well. The 2011 Trans PULSE survey finds that while 71% of trans people in Ontario surveyed have at least some college or university education, about half make $15,000 per year or less.[5] 

One major cause of the wage gap is job segregation. A whole host of factors conspire to segregate women into occupational fields that pay less,[6] such as childcare and retail.[7] Within firms, this might mean that women end up in internal, back-office roles rather than external or revenue-producing roles. Women also confront a motherhood penalty. Mothers are perceived to be less competent, and the time they take off work to have children decelerates salary raises and promotions.[8]    

People looking to get ahead in their jobs must often work long hours, but the gendered allocation of family responsibilities prevents women from being able to do this.[9] As a result, jobs requiring employees to work long hours produce some of the largest wage gaps.[10] 

How to address the gender wage gap