Women's Equality Hindered by Job Loss

March 7, 2009, 4:00 PM EST

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Women have been faced with job loss at a higher rate than men since manufacturing jobs began to disappear in 2002, said CAW Women's Director Julie White.

According to figures from Statistics Canada, 16% of women working in manufacturing have lost their jobs over the last seven years. While men have lost a greater number of manufacturing jobs compared to women (221,900 versus 101, 400 lost jobs), women have been hit harder.

"This massive job loss poses a very real threat to women's economic and socio-political equality," said White. "Manufacturing has been a sector where women could often earn as much as their male counterparts with jobs that provided family-supporting incomes and benefits." 

"With this global economic crisis, these jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate across the country, and fewer and fewer opportunities exist for women in the workforce," said White.

According to Statistics Canada, women account for two thirds of Canadians making minimum wage and hold 70 per cent of part time jobs, making it incredibly difficult to qualify for Employment Insurance benefits under current rules, should they lose their jobs.

"We need to demand a change to EI eligibility requirements that will provide women and their families with a safety net during these tough economic times, as well as stringent pay equity legislation that would finally work to close the wage gap," said White. Currently, women make only 70.5 per cent of the male salary.

CAW members will be participating in events across the country recognizing International Women's Day on both March 7 and 8 (International Women's Day).

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