It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow, and in Canada, we’ve got a lot to be proud of. Since Nellie McClung, we’ve been leaders in women’s rights and equality.
But the statistics show we have a long way to go: the pay gap is unsettling.
“According to Catalyst Canada, a nonprofit organization that focuses on expanding opportunities for women and business, Canadian women earn $0.82 to every $1 earned by men. That’s marginally better than the U.S.’s $0.78 for every $1, but sets the gap in Canada at 18 per cent — much higher than in other countries, specifically in Europe.” (Huffington Post)
Why are we talking about paycheques here? I mean, this is a natural health blog, right?
Right. We’re not economists or policy activists, but we are more than usually expert in the topic of stress. And inequality is stressful.
With the extra eighteen cents on every dollar that a man makes, he can buy freedom from certain stresses, including:
- help around the house,
- better groceries
- pre-made meals
- alternative health care
- fitness memberships and coaching
- child care
- …and the list goes on!
When women make less money, they live with more of the stress that their higher-earning male counterparts can outsource.
And there is evidence that women experience more stress than men.
Research from the Vanier Institute found that “women were more likely than men to experience burnout and depressive states due to stress, and unlike men who typically relax at home, the blood pressure of female managers and professionals actually goes up at home.”
That’s because women still perform more unpaid work than men: they put in more hours caring for the home and children.
Usually, we carry the “keep calm” banner, but when it comes to equality, we don’t think calm is the answer. We think more men and more women should speak out when they see inequality in the workplace and in the home.
Hopefully, by the time our daughters are working and raising families, the gap will be closed.
But today? Tomorrow?
Perhaps being aware – and being empathetic – is next best to speaking out.
When we see women who are clearly under stress – or when we, as women, are stressed – let’s remember: it’s not because we’re hormonal or sensitive or emotional or fragile. It’s because women’s lives are, statistically, more stressful.
Huffington Post, The Gender Pay Gap in Canada is Twice the Global Average https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/05/06/gender-pay-gap-canada_n_7223508.html