Paid less for being better educated?

In 2013, many Canadians believe that gender inequality in rates of pay is largely a problem of the past, and that we have progressed into a world of wage equality between the sexes. However, this type of inequality still persists; the income gap in Canada today is 19 percent, for full-time year-round employment, well more than the double the rate of Norway, which at 8% has the smallest gap.

Canada does not even make the cut for the top 10 industrialized countries with the lowest income gap, and instead rests in the number 11 spot out of 17 other countries

So why is Canada ranked so far from the number one spot?

One possible factor relating to Canada’s income gap is an individual’s level of education. Recent statistics have illustrated that more women than men are graduating from university, and are actually doing much better than men in their studies.

According to an OECD study containing data from 1998 to 2008, women have higher graduation rates than men at high school (8%), for college programs (11%), and for university degrees (18%). Statistics Canada notes that women are indeed more likely than men to attend college or university, yet this fact is not reflected in the pay women receive, as can be seen from the below figure.

In 2005, women holding a bachelor’s degree made just 85 cents for every dollar men with a bachelor’s degree made. Although men and women may have the same level of education, women are still getting paid less. The 2006 census revealed that having a higher level of education does aid in closing the gap, however, as women gain more experience the gap actually widens.

Statistics Canada, Census of Population, 2006

If there are more women attending university and doing much better than men at university, what factors besides education are contributing to men’s higher salaries in positions that require a university degree?

– Micah Tilley


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