Gender pay gap shadows women all along income ladder: study

April 18, 2016

TORONTO – The average pay gap between men and women stands at 29.4 per cent in Ontario — a gap that shadows women every step of the way up the income ladder, says a new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office (CCPA-Ontario). 

Every Step You Take: Ontario’s Gender Pay Gap Ladder, released in time for the Ontario government recognized Equal Pay Day on April 19, 2016, shows Ontario’s pay gap widens and persists throughout the income distribution.

“Women are doing what it takes — getting an education, gaining more experience, and working their way up the income ladder — only to find that women’s earnings are on average lower than men’s when they are in the lowest third of income earners, the middle income groups, or the highest earners in Ontario,” says Cornish. “The labour market needs to be fixed to deliver equitable pay.” 

The report compares the income distribution of men’s and women’s average annual earnings by decile and includes the following key findings:

  • Women’s lowest income decile shows average earnings of $190 are higher than men’s but that is the only time they are in a virtual tie;
  • In women’s second lowest decile, average pay falls 15 per cent below that of men’s second decile, with women earning $1,000 less in annual average earnings;
  • By the middle-income rung, women’s average income in the fifth decile falls 27 per cent below that decile for men, with women earning $9,000 less in annual average earnings;
  • In the very top decile, Ontario’s highest paid women earn an average of 37 per cent less than the highest paid men, translating into a whopping $64,000 less in annual average earnings. 

“Over the course of a working lifetime, these pay gaps can grow into a mountain of lost earnings,” says Cornish. “For instance, a middle-income woman could find herself earning, on average, $315,000 less than men over a 35-year period. The highest paid 10 per cent of women could earn an average of $2.24 million less than highest paid 10 per cent of men over a 35-year period.

“Ontario’s gender pay gap comes at a steep price, even for professional, higher-earning women.”

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Every Step You Take: Ontario’s Gender Pay Gap Ladder is available on CCPA's website for download.

For more information please contact: Trish Hennessy CCPA-Ontario: 416-525-4927 or trish@policyalternatives.ca

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