Recently the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released a report called “Closing Canada’s Gender Gap”. The author, Kate McInturff raises some interesting points about the political and economic gaps that exist between men and women, but neglects a number of important facts in the interest of making her case about the disenfranchisement of women.

McIntruff writes about the famous wage gap:

although incomes for men and women overall have grown over the past twenty years, the gap between men’s and women’s shares of earned income has been nearly stagnant.
[…]

This gap cannot be ascribed simply to choice or to the impact of having children. Certainly there are women (and men) who are in an economic position to work less in order to spend more time with their families.
[…]
Early in their careers, working men and  women earn close the same incomes for the same work. As they reach mid-career,  the gap widens significantly. The income gap between men and women increases rapidly in their 30s and women’s earnings peak when they are in their early 50s and starts a rapid decline in the last decade of their working lives.

 

The gap can actually be ascribed in a large part to choice or having children. She points out that income gap increases rapidly when men and women reach their 30’s. Why is this? Because of families. According to Statistics Canada there is almost no income gap between men and women who have never married.

It is common for women to take time off or reduce their hours when they start a family. Although it is changing, men generally do not and if they do they take less time. Despite McIntruff’s clear disapproval of the pay gap, she ignores this as a factor in explaining the difference.

An obvious solution is to encourage the involvement of the father in family life, freeing up some of the mothers time to spend on her career. There are a small number of groups doing this (like Toronto’s Black Daddies Club) but the need for such groups is much greater than their availability.

McIntruff closes her report by calling for an increase in investments in women’s civil society organizations. CAFE is happy to second that call, provided it is amended to more gender neutral language. If we want to address the gaps between men and women it is important to look at both sides of the equation. Funding civil society groups to encourage men to become more involved with their families, along with closing the vast gender gap in support and custody orders will go a long way to closing the gap in pay.