According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, about 8.1 million women were employed in Canada in 2009. While this is more than double the number employed in 1976, women aged 25 and older are still less likely to be employed than men. And while women occupied 37 percent of managerial roles in the boardroom in 2009, more women worked in low-level supervisor positions than in senior ones. The report states, “Women are … disadvantaged when it comes to decision-making responsibilities and senior management positions; by the time you get to the boardroom, there are only 10 women for every 100 men.”
A 2015 study from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company looked at data on promotion and attrition rates (as well as other aspects) in 118 different companies. Researchers found that, across all organizational levels, women are 15% less likely than men to get promoted. They surveyed nearly 30,000 women and men about their attitudes toward gender diversity in the workplace and found that women were nearly three times more likely than men to say their gender has posed a hindrance to their career advancement, and women said they are consulted less often on key decisions than men. Women are also at least nine times more likely than men to say they do more childcare and at least for times more likely to say they do more chores at home.
According to the same report, Black, Hispanic, and Asian women are 43% more interested in becoming a top executive than white women and 16% more interested than white men. In a 2016 “Women in the Workplace” study, Alexis Krivkovich, partner at McKinsey and lead researcher of the study, told Marketplace, a national daily news program, “It’s absolutely especially acute for women of color. We see that early on, women of color are represented relative to their position in the U.S. population, but by the C-Suite, they’re virtually not present. We only see 3 percent of them at the senior executive level.” According to the survey, women of color, and especially black women, are the least likely to call their company an inclusive place to work. They are also more likely to express frustration at their inability to “be themselves at work.” Valerie Purdie-Vaughns an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University and research fellow at the Institute for Research on African-American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia says black women especially feel their talents aren’t recognized by their superiors. We have to remember that women are not a monolithic group. “Black and white women contend with very different workplace challenges,” she says.
The researchers of the LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company report also say it's important companies quantify the problem. They suggest that companies track key metrics such as the number of women and men in the hiring process, their promotion rates for women and men, and women and men's satisfaction with their roles. They also suggest setting gender targets and holding leaders responsible for actually meeting the targets. In addition, they recommend companies train their employees about gender bias, what it is and how to combat it. The reality is very few companies or organizations actually do this.
The equality section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms explicitly permits affirmative action for and by women and minorities but the Charter does not require legislation that gives preferential treatment to women or minorities. The Canadian Employment Equity Act requires employers in federally-regulated industries to give preferential treatment to women, people with disabilities, aboriginal people, and visible minorities. However, there are no such laws in Ontario. Corporations, political organizations, businesses and school boards are allowed to hire and promote whoever they'd like. It's okay in the eyes of the law that organizations such as ours - which are predominately female based - are led by predominantly male leadership teams.
Fortunately, organizations representing women and minorities are forming all over North America to bring about change. The recent Women's March in Washington highlighted the need. Google Women was formed a few years ago in order to dismantle the barriers that keep women from thriving in the fields of technology. Harvard Business School launched The Women's Leadership Forum several years ago because they understand that when the talents of women are underutilized, companies miss a crucial opportunity to expand their leadership capacity and therefore their ability to develop innovative strategies for a changing world. Coca-Cola recently established a Women's Leadership Council in order to accelerate women's leadership within the company.
In order to see change on a large scale, we must work together. When we work together toward a common purpose, we can accomplish a great deal.
Who Can Join?
Any female employee of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board may become a voluntary member if they belong to any of the following local organizations:
- Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
- Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO)
- Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF)
- Ontario Principals' Council (OPC)
- Administrative and Leadership Group(ALG)
There are two levels of voluntary membership. Public membership is for those who are willing to have their name published on our membership list. Private membership is for those who would like to join the coalition but who wish to remain anonymous. While the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives us the right to both form and participate in this group, KPR Women recognizes that some people are uncomfortable with public representation. KPR Women is committed to your anonymity should you choose to join the coalition but remain anonymous. We will not publish your name on our membership list or share your name with others but you will be counted in our membership numbers.
We also offer an associate membership to:
- male employees of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board who belong to any one of the local organizations listed above and who would like to support the coalition
- former employees of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board who are working elsewhere or who are retired and who would like to support the coalition
- students and parents of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
- any educator in the province of Ontario who would like to lend their support
- Approved For-Profit Corporations with an interest in gender equity
- Approved Not-for-Profit Corporations with an interest in gender equity
We offer the choice of both public and private membership to associate members as well.
What are the benefits of joining?
Both voluntary and associate members will enjoy the satisfaction that comes with being part of a group that works toward shaping the conditions in which we all live and work. When we work together to affect real change in the world, we can feel proud of our collective accomplishments. In addition to these intrinsic rewards, both voluntary and associate members will receive electronic copies of our blogs and newsletters as well as information about our upcoming campaigns and activities.
How Do I Join?
Please complete the following form. Membership is free.