International Equal Pay Day: Is Gender Discrimination Alive?

International Equal Pay Day: Is Discrimination Alive?

What is International Equal Pay Day?

International Equal Pay Day, celebrated on September 18, represents the longstanding efforts towards achieving equal pay for work of equal value.

In 2020, the gender pay gap was 23% globally. In Canada, Statistics Canada reported that in 2021 full-time working women were earning 11% less than men. This gap widens dramatically for women who are racialized, disabled, or of lower socioeconomic status (amongst other things).

While International Equal Pay Day aims to recognize how far Canadian women have come in the last 40 years, it also demonstrates that much progress is still yet to be made.

How is gender discrimination present in the workplace?

For years women have battled gender discrimination in the workplace, including occupational segregation, bias against working mothers, and pay discrimination. Women are frequently treated unfairly compared to their male colleagues, experiencing both hinderances and injustices in their work and pay.

What are steps that employees can take?

What do you do if your employer discriminates against you? While you can’t fire your boss, you can take several other actions. As an employee, you should:

  1. Know your rights. Look into your company’s policy regarding gender discrimination – typically, these are contained within employee handbooks or company policy manuals.
  2. Voice your concern. Notifying your human resources officer, supervisor, or manager of the discrimination is a strong first step, and hopefully will invoke change.
  3. Keep a log of events. Note the time, location and persons involved. If possible, a description of the event and explanation of how it has interfered with your ability to do your job can go a long way if matters were to progress.
  4. Contact an employment lawyer. With escalation or an unresponsive superior, it is important to protect yourself. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances.

What are steps that employers can take?

Business owners, human resource officers, managers, or any individual in a leadership position are uniquely positioned to support employees and address gender discrimination. To ensure your company is engaging in best practices, employers should:

  1. Establish a workplace culture with zero tolerance for gender discrimination.
  2. Provide flexible schedules to accommodate prenatal appointments and/or pregnancy-related medical conditions.
  3. Keep information channels and dialogue open regarding the support available to discriminated employees.
  4. Offer education about employees’ legal rights and ensure these rights are clearly stated in the company handbook/policies.
  5. Conduct onsite training sessions to educate employees about gender discrimination, its effects, and how to prevent it.

We encourage employers to seek legal advice regarding all the aforementioned steps.

If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640 -2667 today.

Author – Ciara