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Gender pay gap: men, women differ over seriousness of issue

As issues of gender balance and representation are tackled in boardrooms and senior finance offices in the public and private sectors, the gap between what men and women earn for doing the same work is never far from the conversation.

But is it a real problem? And if so, is there support for a fix?

The answer to the first question, according to a national public opinion survey of employed Canadians by the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, is “it depends”. The answer to the second, is largely “yes”.

While four-in-five working women (79%) say the gender pay gap is a “serious issue” in this country, only half of working men (51%) say the same.

That said, seven-in-ten (including majorities among both genders) say an equal pay law that certifies companies with more than 25 employees are paying men and women close-to-equal wages for close-to-equal work is something they would support.

Overall, while the majority of working people in this country say they are compensated fairly (62% do), a significant segment of one-in-five (18%) say that a gap in pay based on gender does exist in their own workplace. Women are more likely to feel this way (21%) than their male colleagues (13%).

More Key Findings:

  • Employed Canadians are more inclined to believe that the gender pay gap has been shrinking (53%) over the past decade, rather than growing (13%), while a significant proportion say it remains the same (36%).
  • Women and men disagree about many aspects of the modern workplace. Across all age groups, male workers are at least twice as likely as their female peers to say that any gap in pay is based on the decisions that women make, rather than discrimination.
  • Seven-in-ten employed women (72%) also say that their gender is held to a higher standard in the workplace, compared to just one-in-three men (32%) who agree.
  • In areas where female workers disagree, views are largely driven by their political beliefs. Conservative-leaning women are more than three times as likely to say that the gender pay gap is drive by women’s choices, and are much less likely to say that women are held to higher standards than men in the workplace (though a majority still do)

Read the rest of the story here: www.angusreid.org/gender-pay-gap

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