Opinion: Women in the workforce

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
By Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
December 28th, 2020

With the Throne Speech promise of an Action Plan for Women in the Economy, the federal government committed to ensuring an intersectional feminist response to economic recovery from the pandemic.  

This week, prominent gender justice advocates from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Ontario Nonprofit Network, have joined together to offer essential recommendations on how to make this inclusive plan a reality. 

“December 7 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the report from the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, and since its release women have made huge gains in employment,” says Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.  

“Women have become roughly half the workforce, but with the economic impact of the pandemic that’s in jeopardy, and key public policy gaps, such as access to affordable childcare, can’t wait.” 

The report outlines how women are being pushed out of paid work at historic rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those in precarious jobs and those who have to sacrifice paid hours for unpaid child and elder care.    

Centering marginalized women and focusing on initiatives in fragile women-majority sectors – many of them undervalued care sectors – can provide women with the broadest and deepest pandemic economic recovery. 

The report outlines two key approaches: 

  • Overcome barriers to women’s participation in paid employment, by investing in early learning and child care services, violence against women and gender-based violence services, and accommodations and supports for women with disabilities, and other women have struggled to find a foothold in the labour market. 

  • Create the public infrastructure necessary to spur the creation of decent work and shared prosperity for all, by investing in the care economy, including health care and elder care, ensuring decent work for those at the margins or left out of the labour market, modernizing income security to protect women in today’s labour market, and reducing income inequality by expanding programs that support women in the workforce. 

“Supporting women to get back into the workforce will help strengthen the economy as a whole, and that’s good for everyone,” says Katherine Scott, Senior Researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 

Read the report here

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