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.

Indigenous women

  • 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


Intergenerational Trauma

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

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