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Alberta’s Wage Gap Still Highest in Canada

New fact sheet shows status of Alberta women lagging behind the rest of the country

A new fact sheet released this morning, on the eve of International Women’s Day, by the U of A’s Parkland Institute in conjunction with the Alberta College of Social Workers shows that Alberta continues to lag behind the rest of the country in terms of women’s equality, wages, and family-related benefits and services.

The fact sheet, entitled Women's equality a long way off in Alberta shows that the wage gap for women in Alberta has actually increased since 1998.  In 2009 women working full-time full-year in Alberta earn 68% of what men earn—a ratio that ties with Newfoundland and Labrador for the worst in the country.

While all other provinces have made double digit improvements in wage parity, Alberta’s wage gap has only improved by 6% since 1976.  The numbers are even worse for Alberta women who have graduated from post-secondary diploma or certificate programs. They make only 63% of what men with similar levels of education make.

As opposed to women in most other provinces, in Alberta the wage gap actually increases for women over 44 years of age.  In 2009, women in Alberta aged 44 and over earned only 67% of their male counterparts, a ratio far below the national average of 80%.

During Alberta’s most recent boom, men saw an increase in their median income of 32%, while working women of the same age only saw their median incomes increase by 18%.

“The statistics clearly show that Alberta is lagging on women's equality,” says Parkland research director Diana Gibson. “In every area we looked, Alberta women are getting far less than their male counterparts, and that gap is significantly worse than the gap women face in most other provinces.”

Lori Sigurdson of the Alberta College of Social Workers points out that “we cannot understate the implications of these findings for the well-being of women and their families in Alberta.  Of course, all of this is exacerbated by the fact that Alberta remains one of only a few provinces that do not offer a child benefit for low-income families, and that we are the only province without a ministry or advisory council responsible for the status of women.”

Parkland Institute is a non-partisan public policy research network in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta.  The fact sheet is available for free download from the Institute’s website: www.parklandinstitute.ca.

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