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Gender equality remains to be done

Equal, men and women in Québec in 2022? Not yet ! Stress, income, power… Women still lag behind their colleagues today in a variety of fields, confirms a new compilation from the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ). Lire en français

Source: Le Devoir | Jean-Louis Bordeleau

Les femmes tirent encore de l’arrière aujourd’hui par rapport à leurs confrères dans une panoplie de domaines, confirme une nouvelle compilation de l’Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ). Illustration: iStock pour Le Devoir
Women still lag behind their colleagues today in a variety of fields, confirms a new compilation from the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ). Illustration: iStock for Le Devoir

But first, let's talk about progress. In 15 years, the average income of Québec women has continued to climb. The wage gap went from $10,400 in 2005 to $8,300 in 2019, explains the ISQ's "Statistical Showcase on Equality between Women and Men", published at the end of July.

Despite this, men continue to receive almost $200 more per week, on average, compared to their counterparts, a sign that men earn better wages but also that women work fewer hours in general.

Women are also less likely to work at all, by a gap of 8 percentage points in 2021. “The gap remains there and does not change that much over time. Women work fewer hours annually, perhaps to remedy the fact that there is unpaid work,” comments the coordinator of the ISQ's analysis and social indicators program, Marie-Andrée Gravel.

Graphique : Le Devoir  Source : Institut de la statistique du Québec

“We see that women are generally more educated than men. On the other hand, they have lower incomes, and they assume greater family responsibilities,” confirms his colleague Luc Cloutier-Villeneuve, analyst in labor statistics affiliated with the project.

COVID -19 is also reversing a few years of progress in this direction, because “at the end of the pandemic, women had more difficulty in regaining their level of employment,” he says.

If these two analysts target the personal and family responsibilities of women as a source of inequality, we must remain cautious not to oversimplify, defends the professor at the École de relations industrielles at the University of Montreal, Marie-Thérèse Shisha.

“To speak only of family obligations is to make a too easy link, says the researcher. It amounts to removing the role that government and businesses must play in reducing these inequalities. »

Women's jobs, men's jobs

Several job categories retain a gendered hue, according to statistics collected by the Vitrine. This finding puts women at a disadvantage, since they inherit less well paid and more demanding professions, observes Isabelle Gélinas, director of communications for the Women's Y of Montreal (YWCA).

“There is this myth that says equality has been achieved. We have this feeling that it's beautiful, that everything is fine. But unraveling a society that has long been and is still largely led by men is difficult and time-consuming. »

Management, the natural sciences and the “trades” remain very largely male. Quite the opposite of jobs in health, education, as well as in social and government services.

Women now occupy only 35% of senior management positions in Quebec, although this proportion was only 20% in 2005.

On the other hand, notable advances have been made among the judges of the Court of Québec. While there were only 103 female judges for 161 male judges ten years ago, parity has now been achieved (146 women for 151 men). These gains come mainly from a change of law in 2012 to require a selection of judges favoring this equality.

The law may have changed, but the real challenge remains to change mentalities, criticizes Mrs. Chicha. Deconstructing preconceived ideas will not be possible “as long as there are female employment ghettos”, she says.

We may be a long way from the days of women in the home, but women still spend an hour more daily than men on housework (3.5 hours per day versus 2.5 hours per day).

“It means that they are more stressed, observes Marie-Thérèse Chicha. They can indulge in less leisure and have less time for themselves. Her remarks resonate in the data from the Showcase where there is indeed a higher level of stress in women.

[... ] Quebec is still doing well among OECD countries, comments Luc Cloutier-Villeneuve. “In fact, there is a trend towards greater equality than in the United States or elsewhere in other provinces such as Ontario or Western Canada. But there is always room for improvement. »


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