Women are vastly underrepresented in many fields of employment, including, but certainly not limited to; (STEM), Agriculture, and various Trades, even though there is not a lack of interest.

Statistics Canada:

  • Men in STEM have lower unemployment rates than women, 39% of men scoring in the lowest three categories of the Programme for International Student Assessment mathematics scores at the age of 15 entered STEM education
  • 23% of women scoring within the highest three categories of the same test entered STEM education fields.

Osler study:

  • Female representation varies in surveyed organizations varied across industries, with trades companies involved in industry, reporting less than 10% female board and executive representation.
  • Female role models in leadership positions in these industries is integral to the motivation of young women to enter such fields.
  • Low rates of leadership attainment indicates a bias in hiring, employee acquisition, and promotion of women in these industries.

In 2015, Status of Women Canada released a report called The Competitive Advantage: A Business Case for Hiring Women in the Skilled Trades and Technical Professions. You can review it here.

Who are the decision makers?

Who are the other key players?

High School Career Guidance Counsellors:

  • Guidance influence what young women study and have the knowledge and power to lead young women towards career options they may not have considered.
  • These actors hold significant power in leading young women towards underrepresented fields and leadership positions, and can adversely discourage women from seeking such career paths.

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)

  • works to balance the ratio of women in STEM jobs by advocating for women trained in these disciplines and encouraging women to enter such fields.

Political Parties

  • The Liberal Party of Canada 2015 platform: $40MM annually to help employers create co-op placements in STEM and business (not specific to women, but indicates the importance of the field).
  • The Conservative Party of Canada, New Democratic Party of Canada, and Green Party of Canada did not mention any policy related to elevating the position of women in STEM, trades, or agriculture in their 2015 campaign policies.
  • Provincial/Territorial Parties

Sexual Harassment & Women’s Leadership

#metoo, #yesallwomen, #timeisup campaigns and exposure of high profile cases in the media, hollywood, and politics, the issue of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace have begun to receive much needed attention.

In 2017, Federal Minister for Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour conducted a public consultation on violence and harassment in the workplace and found this behaviour remains commons. Participants encouraged the government to look at harassment as a form of gender-based violence and from the perspective of other forms of discrimination.

Those who face harassment risk losing their job or chance at promotion if they raise concerns about the conduct of a superior or refuse sexual advances. Harassment makes the workplace hostile and can result in lost work time, a loss of wages, and can put pressure on women to leave a job.

What is being done now?

Canada is one of the few countries that has a policy in the House of Commons targeting sexual harassment. A Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Commons: Sexual Assault is contained in Standing Orders - the rules governing the House of Commons.

In May 2016, Nova Scotia adopted a Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace. The Policy applies to Members, political staff and volunteers and in all places where the business of the House of Assembly work is conducted.

In 2017, the Labour Minister introduced Bill C-65 that will cover Parliament Hill staff, including interns and aides.