When I started 10 years ago at Randstad, I could never envision all the changes that would transform the world of work in just one short decade. But I knew I was at the right organization to make an impact on people, however small. Our women’s program started very modestly, with a small panel of female business leaders in a hotel in downtown Toronto. But that little panel sparked something much larger for our organization, and for me: an unwavering commitment to the advancement of women in the workplace.
From the #MeToo movement to Greta Thunberg’s passionate plea for the planet, from Kamala Harris becoming the first female and woman of colour to beUS vice-president, to athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka daring to prioritize their mental wellbeing over athletic achievement, women have made their voices heard louder than ever, with the volume increasingly emphatically over the last few years.
Some people think we’ve achieved gender equality in Canada and that programs supporting this issue are not relevant anymore. To those people, I challenge them to consider these startling facts:
- Women workers in Canada earned an average of 76.8 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2019. Racialized women working full-time jobs earn 67 cents for every $1 earned by non-racialized men.
- Although 82% of women aged 25 to 54 now participate in Canada’s workforce, they are still underrepresented in leadership roles. Women hold only 25% of vice-president positions, and 15% of CEO positions. Just 8.5% of the highest-paid positions in Canada’s top 100 listed companies are held by women.
- In Canada, girls and boys aged 15 had the same average scores on tests measuring scientific ability. Yet, boys are twice as likely as girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects than girls.
- Given that women are more likely to be employed in sectors and industries hardest hit by isolation measures, a higher proportion of women lost their jobs in the early stages of the pandemic. 10 times more women than men fell out of the labour force in 2020.
Canadian Women’s Foundation, https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/
Through our Women Transforming the Workplace program, we’ve helped women navigate the ever-changing world of work so they can realize their full potential. We’ve also supported organizations in building more inclusive workplaces for women. In the last two years alone, we’ve published 4 white papers tackling current issues impacting women including automation, emerging tech and unconscious biases. We hosted 6 roundtables in 3 cities. We interviewed 16 podcast guests from all walks of life. We launched a digital upskilling program designed by and for women with our partner tellent. And mostly importantly, we amplified thousands of women’s voices. We’ve made connections with amazing women who generously shared with us their inspiring stories, their clear sighted vision, and their innovative insights.
As we celebrate our Women Transforming the Workplace program’s 10th anniversary this fall, I could not be prouder of the progress that we have made collectively to ensure workplaces are safer, more inclusive and more rewarding for women, despite all of the remaining challenges. Through conversation, inspiration, and collaboration, women spark change and progress. They transform the world of work. They make things better for themselves. And for everyone else. Let’s move forward. Together.