This letter is in response to Emm Fickle’s letter to the editor regarding the gender pay gap, “Story wrong on the gender gap,” published July 28.
To say there’s no real gender gap is false and dangerous. This is a narrow view of the systems of oppression at play that have put women in marginalized positions.
The most harmful comments in Fickle’s letter are: “men tend to choose industries that pay better than the industries women choose.” and “women in Canada get paid almost exactly the same as men for doing the same work, with the same years of service, experience, certifications, etc.”
What evidence do you have to support this claim? Fickle references 2018 Statistics Canada data yet fails to mention that the same 2018 data found that the largest factors in explaining the gap were “the distribution of women and men across industry and women’s over-representation in part-time work.”
A Canadian Women’s Foundation 2020 study found that women are “concentrated in underpaid, precarious occupations involving the five Cs” caring, clerical, catering, cashiering and cleaning.”
Many of these women are racialized, immigrants, migrants, and/or undocumented. Simply saying women are choosing lesser paying industries ignores generations of systemic oppression and legislation that has kept and continues to keep women in limited opportunities.
The amount we make is directly related to the quality of life we have and can provide for our families. Whether it’s 13% or 30% — a gap is a gap.
That gap creates inequities beyond the pay-cheque — from accessing financing and retirement income to mental health and life expectancy.
Let’s get the facts straight because these are the kind of comments that keep women down. And we women are going up.