Alberta Federation of Labour calls on government to introduce Pay Equity, Universal Child Care, and Domestic Violence legislation to close the gap between Alberta’s men and women
Edmonton – Despite recent strides in gender equality, more must be done to address Alberta’s 60-cents-on-the-dollar pay gap – the highest pay gap in the country – and Alberta’s high rates of domestic violence, says Alberta’s largest worker advocacy organization.
Since their election in 2015, Alberta’s NDP government has taken a leadership role in elevating the status of women. With the introduction of protected leave for victims of domestic violence, strong funding for Alberta’s women’s shelters, and the installment of Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet – including a ministry dedicated to the Status of Women – Notley’s government has made great strides in advancing women’s rights. The increase in minimum wage has also increased women’s equality, as two-thirds of Alberta’s minimum wage earners are women.
However, there will be no true equality without key measures to address the pay gap, including the introduction of pay equity legislation and universal child care. “High quality, affordable child care is not only crucial to children’s learning and development – it’s also absolutely necessary to achieve gender equality,” said Siobhan Vipond, Secretary Treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “In Alberta, 68% of all part-time jobs are occupied by women, and half of Alberta women working part-time cite inadequate or extremely costly child care as the reason.”
Alberta mothers with children aged 0 to 5 have the lowest employment rates in the country, and the proportion of women with young children in the Alberta workforce has actually dropped since the 1990s. Alberta women also spend 35 hours each week – the equivalent to a standard full-time job – on unpaid work, including childcare, double the time of their male counterparts.
“We know the bulk of child care still falls to women, and women bear the economic brunt of career stagnation and hours reduction when they have children. This is on top of the gendered pay inequity women already experience. Alberta must introduce both pay equity legislation and universal child care to close the staggering pay gap, with women earning 60 cents on the dollar compared with men in our province.”
Alberta must also do more to protect victims of domestic violence. The introduction of protected job leave for women experiencing domestic violence, and allowing them to break leases early, are good first steps. But, the government must go further by making protected leave paid. “Women escaping domestic violence are already under a tremendous amount of strain, pressure, and fear,” said Vipond. “By ensuring women are still paid while taking leave to escape domestic violence, moving themselves and their children out of harm’s way, Alberta can take one small step to alleviate some of the strain.”
Alberta Federation of Labour continues to call on our governments to support women with Fair Start Alberta, a campaign to implement universal Early Childhood Education and Care that supports children, workers, women and families in Alberta. Read more at www.fairstartalberta.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Janelle Morin, Director of Communications
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