Fast Facts on Women

Women and Poverty

  • Women make up 62.3% of low-wage workers in Alberta. In 2014, 225,600 women earned less than $15/hour in the province. 73,500 low-wage workers in Calgary are women and 22,900 women in Calgary earned $11.20 per hour or less. A living wage in Calgary is $18.15/hour without benefits and $17.00/hour with.
  • Alberta has the largest pay gap in Canada. Women earned 68% of what men earned in 2009 for full-time, full-year jobs.
  • Single mothers are more likely to live in poverty: 80% of all lone-parent families are headed by women. Women who head lone-parent families are one of the poorest groups in Canada. On average, their incomes are $7,500 below the poverty line.
  • Aboriginal women, visible minority women, women with disabilities and single mothers are all more likely to have a low income than men within the same categories. (United Way, City of Calgary and Vibrant Communities Calgary, 2012 booklet series.)
  • 80% of incarcerated women in Canada are in prison for poverty related reasons, 39% of which are for failure to pay a fine. In a survey of provincially incarcerated women 74% reported that they did not have enough money to meet their basic needs at the time of their arrest. Approximately 70% of incarcerated women are single mothers.

Women and Leadership

  • More women than ever before are graduating from university, entering new professions and running for public office.
  • Canada ranks 45th out of 189 countries in the number of women elected to national parliament. Canada has fewer women elected to federal government than most of Europe, Rwanda, Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Just under one quarter of the Canadian House of Commons is made up of women. Research indicates that 30% representation is required to make an impact.
  • In 2012, women held 18.1% of the top 500 senior officer positions in Canada, an increase of  0.4% since the previous Census in 2010. More than one third of public FP500 companies count no women among their senior officers.
  • In Calgary, there are two councillors who are women, making up 14% of  councillors. Calgary was one of the last major cities in Canada to make the title change from ‘alderman’ to ‘councillor,’ and is far behind other major cities in Alberta when it comes to women’s representation on City Council.

Women and Violence

  • Women often remain in abusive relationships to avoid poverty and homelessness. Women who leave a partner to raise children on their own are five times more likely to live in poverty than if they stay with their partner.
  • On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. In Alberta alone, shelters supported 926 women and 1,102 children in one day in 2013. On that same day, 43 women reported that their intimate partner had threatened them with a gun and 37 women were known to be pregnant. Shelters had to turn away 99 women and 87 children.
  • Aboriginal women are 2.5 times more likely to experience spousal violence than non-Aboriginal women.
  • Since 1980 over a thousand Aboriginal women and girls have been murdered.
  • In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that Alberta has the third-highest rate of police-reported intimate partner violence in the country.
  • 67% of Canadians say that they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted. Of the provinces, Alberta was the highest, with 74 per cent of Albertans reporting that they have known a woman who was abused by a perpetrator.
  • 40% of men surveyed in Alberta believe that women put themselves at risk for rape if they are wearing provocative clothing, 14% believe that women often say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’ to sex, 8% believe it is okay to physically assault a woman who makes him angry and 4% think it is acceptable to hurt a woman who withholds sex.

Women and Childcare

  • Women are disproportionately responsible for child care across Canada, spending more time and energy on childcare than men, even when employed. Currently, 70% of Canadian women with children under the age of six work outside the home. However, due to the shortage of childcare spaces and lack of “family friendly” work practices, many of these women often feel they must choose part-time work, turn down overtime and make other choices that allow them to juggle both their domestic and workplace responsibilities.
  • The number of preschool children with a mother in the work force who did not have access to licensed childcare went from 69,368 in 2004 to 87,281 in 2010.
  • In Calgary, approximately 28% of women over the age of 18 were concerned about not having access to childcare in 2009.

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