Who are the decision makers?
- Federal, provincial, and municipal government
- All politicians and political groups have their own strategies, which are transformed into government policies when they are elected and given a mandate by the electorate. These policies are often formed during party conventions
- Federal Government
- Provincial/Territorial Government
Think Tanks and Universities
Action to combat the gender wage gap and underrepresentation of women in leadership should be driven by accurate data. Think tanks and universities play a crucial role in producing accurate research on these issues.
- UN Women
- Inter-Parliamentary Union
- Queen’s University graduate political science program in gender and politics
- Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Grassroots organizations and Civil Society
Grassroots organizations and civil society are often the drivers behind social change and political action. Non-profit organizations like Equal Voice and Samara Canada play a critical role in advocacy and the normalization of women in positions of power. Grassroots movements like the Women’s March act as another form of advocacy, and can be vehicle for marginalized voices to be heard.
These are just a few examples. For more suggestions on organizations to follow, check out the “Twitter Accounts” at the end.
Policies and government strategies can often seem like far-off processes that only exist in Ottawa. But the truth is that policies and government strategies shape the lives of everyday Canadians from coast to coast, and create change.
Policies can stay static over long periods, or change quickly to keep up with our changing society and political environment. Since policies and government strategies can be fluid, but have great impact, it’s helpful to know how to navigate policy and government strategy.
Another helpful place to learn more about current government policies and strategies at the federal level are ministerial mandate letters written by the Prime Minister of Canada to each Minister in their cabinet. These letters outline the policy priorities for each Minister and the federal department that they oversee.
Women in Canada face barriers to working in certain fields and industries such as STEM, agriculture, and trades, in addition to facing social barriers to employment such as childcare and the wage gap, and in seeking leadership opportunities.
However, some groups of women are differentially negatively impacted within such endeavors. Including Indigenous women, immigrant, refugee, LBGTQ2+, minority women, women with disabilities and women of low socioeconomic status.
- Due to historic federal and provincial policies such as residential schooling, the Indian Act, and the “60’s Scoop”, Indigenous women are affected in the workplace and have been suppressed from leadership opportunities and entering underrepresented fields
- The intergenerational trauma of residential school and the “60’s Scoop” have left Indigenous women undereducated, unemployed, and suppressed due to family violence, substance abuse, and loss of cultural and spiritual ties
- The Indian Act created systemic racism toward Indigenous women and systemically oppressed Indigenous women by denying them status rights through marriage, basic personhood, voting rights, and the right to run for public office
- Such policies also dismantled the traditional matriarchal structure of Indigenous societies and denied women from holding the leadership roles
The transmission of historical oppression and its negative consequences across generations. There is evidence the impact of intergenerational trauma on the health and well-being on health and social disparities facing indigenous peoples in Canada.
Sixties Scoop (60’s Scoop)
The large scale removal or “scooping” of indigenous children from their homes, communities, and birth-families through the 1960s; and their subsequent adoption into predominantly non-indigenous, middle class families across Canada.
Immigrant and refugee women
- Immigrant and refugee women face barriers such as systemic racism, differences in credential requirements and denial of credentials between their home nation and Canada. Cultural and language barriers in the realm of Canadian employment
- Often, international credentials are not recognized by Canadian employers, therefore women are often denied employment in their trained fields and are forced to accept underemployment or to retrain
- Minority women similarly face barriers to employment and leadership through systemic racism and underrepresentation
Women with disabilities
- Women with disabilities tend to be concentrated in low-range salary jobs (less than $50k per year)
- Men with disabilities were more likely to be concentrated in higher range salary jobs (over $ 60k per year)
Women of low socioeconomic status
- Women from low socioeconomic backgrounds face precarious employment, undereducation, and social barriers to employment
- Socioeconomic status can make it difficult to secure safe and stable work
- For example, women may be forced, due to disproportionate barriers such as access to education, to accept precarious positions to financially security
- Women from low socioeconomic backgrounds may also experience struggles in finding adequate and affordable child care, the affordability of professional attire, and availability of transportation
This toolkit is a way for women to collaborate and bridge the barriers that have been established between these two communities due to colonialism. Canadian women are still facing discrimination in the workplace and enormous barriers to attaining leadership positions across all sectors, including politics.
The development of this toolkit was led by delegates Elinor McNamee and Sarah Toole, but is the collective effort of dozens of Daughters with the encouragement dozens more.
A sincere thank you to all of the Daughters of the Vote who contributed and supported this project with their commentions, questions, suggestions, personal and professional experience, expertise, and encouragement. Thank you to Sabrina Andrews, Zafreen Jaffer, Mary Go, and Jessica Jahn.
This toolkit has three main objectives:
- To engage and educate women on issues of gendered employment and leadership abilities that affect their daily lives in work and in day-to-day
- To enable women across Canada to explore different pathways to seeking leadership roles, entering traditionally gendered fields of study and employment, and overcoming the barriers to employment and pay equity, or become a strong voice for such issues
- To provide policy options, strategies for engagement, and tools of empowerment to allow women to be aware of solutions for equalizing leadership roles and employment paths in Canada
The difference between the amounts of money paid to women and men, often for doing the same work. The gap narrows even further when comparing racialized and non-racialized women.
Fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. May include equal treatment or equivalent treatments in terms of rights, benefits, obligations, and opportunities.
The reasons are vast, but here are some of the facts:
- Canadian women still face a gendered pay gap: Statistics Canada reports that, on average, women make 87 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The gendered wage gap is even larger when other factors, including race and ability, are taken into consideration.
- Canadian women are underrepresented in politics and leadership positions: Canada is currently ranked 64th in the world for gender representation in federal parliament, with only 26.3% of seats occupied by women. Women still continue to face enormous discrimination when pursuing leadership positions.
- Women are underrepresented in several fields of employment: including, but certainly not limited to; Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), Agriculture, and various Trades. However, there is not a lack of female interest or capability in these positions.
Drawing on the opinion and expertise of Daughters of the Votes delegates, we narrowed the scope of this broad topic to three focus areas:
- Gendered discrepancies in the workplace: issues of pay gaps and social barriers to employment
- Challenges to leadership: in politics, businesses and boards, and tackling the glass ceiling
- Fields in which women are underrepresented: STEM, trades, and agriculture
A barrier to advancement in any profession that goes unacknowledged, which particularly affecting women and minorities.
Glass Elevator Theory:
Men will receive professional recognition, pay raises, promotions more quickly, and more often than women and racialized minorities with the same education, work experience, and work ethic.
Individuals with European heritage whose ancestors immigrated to Canada upon its colonization and maintains a level of ethnic privilege.
Women are more likely than men to achieve leadership roles during periods of crisis, when the chance of failure is the highest.
How was this toolkit made?
This toolkit was an inclusive process. DOVs provided feedback and direction throughout. Ideas were sourced from delegates and top three focus areas were chosen by vote. Input was sought from delegates and vetting was completed by self-identified experts. This tool kit represents diverse opinions of young women across Canada.
An intersectional approach was used in this toolkit. We tried to avoid speaking about these issues in general terms, but rather focus on how different women and communities are impacted and engage with the issues covered in this toolkit. There will be gaps that we don’t cover, try to remember how identity, equality and power effect how different people experience the issues in the toolkits. One way to develop your own understanding of intersectionality is to value a ‘bottom-up’ approach to research, analysis and planning that begins by considering how people actually live their lives.
Refers to the ways in which gender intersects with other identities such as: race, age, ethnicity, health, and other characteristics. Intersectionality is the sociological theory on how these intersections contribute to unique experiences of oppression and privilege.
(Symington, A. (2004). Intersectionality: a tool for gender and economic justice.)
This toolkit also uses a multi-partisan approach to political party positions, government strategy, and policy options and innovations. We have done our best to integrate a diverse understanding of Canadian politics and policy, with the basis of the relevant work being pulled from the major federal and provincial political parties. This toolkit does not extensively cover all party positions and multi-partisan policy options, tools have been provided throughout to help support you in further research into the different partisan political and policy options about women, paid work, and leadership.