Friday, August 16, 2013

Gender Gap not Closing

(An earlier version of this piece appeared at
In the nineties, I was one of the Mayor’s representatives on a municipal committee that looked at the issue of violence against women.  The Committee looked at some of the broader social conditions affecting women in our community.  A report with recommendations was produced.

That was when I was a Councillor (actually, and perhaps ironically, I was an Alderman) in the City of Burlington.  When following the work of the Committee we tried to change our job title to Councillor it failed fifteen 15 votes to two, as I recall.

It goes without saying that this was a long time ago.  So when some publications on the Gender Gap from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives came out last month I was interested. Has the Gender Gap closed?

Apparently not, based on the research of two writers.     

The Gap in the Gender Gap: Violence Against Women in Canada was released July 11th. (See

The authors argue that “progress on ending violence against women in Canada is stalled by the absence of a coherent national policy and consistent information about the levels of that violence.”

Kate McInturff‘s In Closing Canada’s Gender Gap Year 2240 Here We Come! came out in April. The author looks at data from the World Economic Forum. That data measures the progress of the world’s nations in closing the gap between the participation of men and women in four areas: education, health, the economy, and politics. We do well in education and health; not so economic participation and opportunity.

The author argues that “the biggest drag on Canada’s score in this arena is its poor performance in increasing the percentage of women who make up our country’s legislators, sen­ior officials,
and managers."

I've take some facts from these two from these and put them in a chart which follows.
100,000         On average each year the number of Canadians who reported experiencing sexual violence to
                     the police. (a)
70 %              of incidents of spousal violence never reported. (b)

83 %              of victims of spousal violence who are female. ©

334               Combined cost in dollars per person per year of adult sexual assault and intimate   
                    partner violence is in Canada. (d)
262               Estimated cost in dollars of the use of illegal drugs per person per year. (d)

541               Estimated cost of smoking per person per year. (d)

2.77             Dollars per person in federal public spending to address violence against women in 2011-12 (d)

228              At the current rate of progress years that will be required to close Canada’s
                   gender gap i.e., inequality between men and women. (e)

25 %            of federal Parliament constituencies represented by women. (f)

17 %            of government caucus who are women. (f)

14.5 %         of seats on corporate boards occupied by women in Canada. (g)


(a) Sinha, Maire (2013). Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends. Statistics Canada.

(b) Sinha, Maire (2012). Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2010. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

(c) Sinha, Maire ed. (2013). Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends. Statistics Canada.

(d) The Gap in the Gender Gap: Violence Against
Women in Canada

(e) Kate McInturff ‘s In Closing Canada’s Gender Gap Year 2240 Here We Come

(f) In McInturf from Members of Parliament (Current).” Parliament of Canada.

(g) In McInturff 2011 Catalyst Census: Financial Post 500 Women Board Directors. Toronto: Catalyst, 2012.

(h) In McInturff from Mackenzie, Hugh (2012). Canada’s CEO Elite 100. Toronto: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.