Women’s earnings in BC lag national average: report

December 17, 2012

(Vancouver) A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives compares the earnings of women in BC to those in the rest of Canada. The report was authored by Marjorie Griffin Cohen, an economist and SFU Professor of Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Among the key findings:

  • ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­During most of the 1990s, women in BC received average earnings that were generally equal to or higher than the national average. In the late 1990s, however, BC women’s earnings dropped, and have since lagged the Canadian average. By 2010 (the latest available data) women in BC were earning $2,700 a year less than the national average. Women who work full-time/full-year had wages below the national average for most of this period, only reaching the average in 2010.
  • From 2002 to 2010, women in BC saw an average increase in their real earnings of 0.49 per cent per year, compared to a Canadian average for women of 1.4 per cent per year.  While earnings for women in BC are slowly improving, they are not keeping pace with the average for women workers in Canada.

“The various attempts in BC to keep wages from rising appear to have had an impact on low-income earners over the past 10 years,” says Professor Cohen, “and women disproportionately make up those low-wage workers. Public policy in BC has undermined the needs of workers in the mistaken belief that a low-wage policy will be best for the economy. During most of the period under consideration one would have expected the BC earnings disadvantage to improve as the economy improved. But this did not happen.”

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BC Disadvantage for Women: Earnings Compared with Other Women in Canada, is available at http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/bc-disadvantage-women.

To arrange an interview, contact Sarah Leavitt at: 604-801-5121 x 233 or email sarah[at] policyalternatives.ca.