Canada’s unions are marking Equal Pay Day by calling for immediate action on pay equity. Equal Pay Day signals the day when average wages in female dominated job categories finally catch up to the wages in male dominated job categories from the previous calendar year. This year, that date arrives on April 7.
“Even in 2021, women still make on average 32 percent less in wages than men,” said Marie Clarke Walker, CLC Secretary-Treasurer. “The gender pay gap is even steeper for some. Over the past year, the disproportionately gendered and racialized economic and health impacts of COVID-19 have made the financial insecurities faced by women in our economy even worse. The federal government has promised to enforce pay equity and there is no time to lose.”
Racialized women make 40 percent less than white men born in Canada. For Indigenous women, the gap is 45 percent and for immigrant women and women with a disability, that difference is 55 percent and 56 percent less respectively.
“This pandemic has shown us just how important work traditionally performed by women is to the health and safety of our communities,” said Clarke Walker. “Cleaners, cashiers and caregivers are among the workers now recognized as essential. Yet, the low pay and unfair working conditions they endure does not respect their value to our communities.”
The work in these undervalued sectors is often invisible and unrecognized, and exposes workers to possible violence and harassment and other health and safety risks, limited job security and access to benefits, including paid sick leave. Many of these women workers are Black, Indigenous, racialized and recent immigrants. This contributes to wider wage gaps for marginalized workers.
Add your voice this Equal Pay Day by writing to your Member of Parliament to demand that the federal government make pay equity the law here.
For more information on Equal Pay Day 2021, and to join the online campaign and events, click here.