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Close the Gender Wage Gap: Marty Warren Statement on Equal Pay Day

Ontario women still take home, on average, 31.5% less each year than what men earn. For women in the Atlantic, they get between 15%-34% less. We call that shortfall “the gender wage gap.” And it’s even greater if you are a racialized woman (over 35%) or an Aboriginal woman (over 40%).

The gender wage gap has been with us a long time! Even now, when Canadian women are as well or more educated than men, it persists. Because women are more likely to work in low-paid, insecure jobs. Because women’s work is undervalued.

Being in a union is one of the best ways to close the gender wage gap.

April 19 is called Equal Pay Day, and not just because it’s a day to come together with other allies to call for wage fairness for women. It’s because it takes one full year AND until April 19 of the next for Canadian women to earn as much as men earn in just 12 months alone. In other words, Canadian women had to work all of 2015 AND up to April 19, 2016 just to earn as much as the average male worker did in the 12 months of 2015.

Wear red on April 19!

To show how far women, and especially racialized and Aboriginal women, are “in the red” with their paycheques, wear red on Equal Pay Day.

And what else can we do?

To close the gender wage gap, USW can:

  • Organize new members.
  • Pressure governments to pass or strengthen pay-equity laws, laws that provide leaves of absence for family care-givers and domestic-violence victims, and laws that make it easier to organize unions.
  • Demand quality, affordable, public childcare, with living wages for childcare workers.
  • Treat the gender wage gap as a human rights issue.
  • At the bargaining table, push for transparent pay, hiring and promotion practices to close the gender wage gap and open up higher-paid classifications to women.
  • Ensure job evaluation accurately reflects women’s work.
  • Strengthen women’s voices in our union, in organizing, bargaining, job evaluation and in leadership positions.

Please attend a rally or other pay-equity event taking place in your community. See Upcoming Events on the District 6 website for details of activities organized by USW locals.

In solidarity

Marty Warren
USW District 6 Director

Closing the Gender Wage Gap: Submission by the United Steelworkers

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