Telling Canada's Story in Numbers - Women and Paid Work

In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history!

Women's employment rates and gender wage differences

In 1950, 21.1% of women aged 25 to 54 were employed. This had more than tripled to 77.8% by 2016. In contrast, the employment rate for men fell from 94.0% in 1950 to 85.0% in 2016. The increase in women's employment coincided with socio-demographic and economic changes, such as increased participation in higher levels of education, delayed marriage and childbearing, and increased separation and divorce.

Despite the convergence in their employment rates, women continue to earn less than men. In 2016, women aged 25 to 54 working full time earned an average of $26.69 per hour, while their male counterparts earned an average of $30.35. This means that on an hourly basis, women earned $0.88 for every dollar earned by men in 2016, up from about $0.75 in the mid-1980s.

For more information on women's employment rates and gender wage differences, see the "Women and Paid Work" chapter of Women in Canada.