In 1957 there were 2,371 women employed by the province. This represented just 23.7 per cent of the 10,000 full time employees. Because of employer animosity to married women in the workforce, only one third (881) of these women were married. Fourteen years later, there were 8,275 women in the general service (direct employees of the provincial government) representing 48.7 per cent of the total workforce of 16,979.
This increase of women into public employment in Alberta mirrored the increase in the number of women in workplaces across Canada in the 1960s.
Q: What is Pay Equity?
A: Pay equity is:
Q: There’s an attitude of “That’s Women’s Work” – What is with that?
A: Historically women tended to work in nursing, clerical, child care, social work, etc. Typically they were thought of as temporary workers and not career minded – a holdover from the days when women were expected to leave the workforce upon marriage or childbearing. The jobs women chose were seen to reflect qualities displayed in the home, such as nurturing, healing and caring. The greater the proportion of women in an occupation, the lower the relative pay.
For example – Why are the cleaning staff in hospitals called housekeepers? They aren’t keeping house. They are keeping an institution clean healthy and safe for patients and staff. Why are the cleaning staff in schools called janitors and not housekeepers? After all they are performing comparable work only in a different institution, keeping schools clean, healthy and safe for students and staff. And why do janitors earn more than housekeepers? Traditionally janitorial work was considered male work and it’s occupation male dominated while housekeeping was considered female work and female dominated.
Unequal pay for similar work when the difference is based only on gender difference is pure discrimination.
Q: What can Pay Inequity lead to?
A: Pay Inequity leads to increased levels of poverty, which leads to increased health care costs AND leads to increased costs for shelters and housing AND leads to increased community services costs…
Even More on Pay Equity (also referred to as Wage Equity)
Here are some statistics from 2016 and 2017:
Pay equity is not just a women's issue. Men who are in jobs that are traditionally seen as "women's jobs" are affected by pay inequity.