Prov­ince look­ing at gen­der par­ity

Sur­vey seek­ing pub­lic in­put on how to close wage gap

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The prov­ince is in the be­gin­ning stages of form­ing a strat­egy to help women over­come bar­ri­ers to eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment.

An on­line sur­vey re­leased qui­etly this month is so­lic­it­ing feed­back on ways to close the gen­der wage gap, com­bat genderbased vi­o­lence, im­prove child care and get more women on boards.

While ex­perts are laud­ing the prov­ince for turning its at­ten­tion to the is­sue, they’re also cast­ing doubt on the ne­ces­sity and ef­fi­cacy of the sur­vey.

“My only thought is: Please, do we need more re­search?” Rina Frat­i­celli, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor at the Women in View ad­vo­cacy group, told Metro in an email. “There have been mul­ti­tudes of stud­ies in­di­cat­ing quite clearly that what is re­quired is leg­is­lat­ing numer­i­cal equity.”

Metro’s on­go­ing Women on Boards se­ries has out­lined the prob­lems faced by women mak­ing bids for a seat in pub­li­cand pri­vate-sec­tor board­rooms. Across Canada, women ac­count for 20.8 per cent of the S&P/TSX 60’s board seats.

The prov­ince toyed with the idea of leg­is­lat­ing equity when it set a tar­get to have 40 per cent of mem­bers of pro­vin­cial boards be women by 2019. It en­cour­aged busi­nesses to reach 30 per cent by the end of 2017 but stopped short of vow­ing to pe­nal­ize those that don’t reach the bench­mark.

Sta­tus of Women Min­is­ter Indira Naidoo-Har­ris said the prov­ince is “open to more strin­gent steps.”

“If it comes to a point where we feel (boards) can do more and if we feel they aren’t mov­ing fast enough, we will con­sider other steps,” she said, though she de­clined to say what mea­sures could be used and stressed the sur­vey would pro­vide “a sense of what’s hap­pen­ing on the ground.”

Tanya van Biesen, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Cat­a­lyst Canada, an or­ga­ni­za­tion ad­vo­cat­ing for gen­der par­ity, said the prov­ince is al­ready well-in­formed about the is­sue, so the sur­vey is un­likely

speak­ing out

Some of the ideas sug­gested for get­ting more women on boards “Women don’t toot their own horns out of fear of be­ing per­ceived as too self­pro­mot­ing. We need to in­vest in pro­grams to train and de­velop women to ad­vo­cate for them­selves as lead­ers and to cham­pion their own ca­reers so they’re best po­si­tioned for C-suite and board roles.” “Tax in­cen­tives for busi­nesses and in­sti­tu­tions that pro­mote equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for women in learn­ing and work­ing en­vi­ron­ments would be a good start.” “Cel­e­brate the boards that do well and en­cour­age more to do the same with aware­ness cam­paigns at all lev­els of busi­ness.” to un­earth any new so­lu­tions.

“I don’t think there will be a sil­ver bul­let ... this will just re­in­force what they’ve al­ready heard,” she said.


rina Frat­i­celli is the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Women in View.

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