International Women’s Day was quietly celebrated in Trail Tuesday at the WINS Transition House during a regular women’s drop in that was amped up with a cake to accompany snacks and coffee. The regular gathering from 1-3 p.m. in the Gulch attracts a diverse group of women like Shai Olsen

Local report highlights gender-based income inequality

In the Columbia Basin-boundary region, the average male wage makes $20,000 more than the average female in a year.

In recognition of International Women’s Day on Tuesday, the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) released data highlighting the difference between male and female earnings in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region.

The institute studied Canada’s tax filer data, which is data produced by the Canada Revenue Agency based on individual tax returns.

While wages across the board were generally lower than the Canadian average, the gap in earnings was greater than the national average.

In the Columbia Basin-Boundary region, the average male earned $50,208, while the average female earned $29,975 for an earnings gap of $20,233.

The average Canadian male earned $51,741 while the average Canadian female earned $32,387 for an earnings gap of $19,354.

This difference is similar for B.C., although the gap is slightly smaller.

The RDI found that due to the resource based economies of the region there is a high proportion of makes earning high incomes.

“This pattern is comparable to typical resource based economies, where the male tends to be the person who earns money to support a family, while the women focus on caring for children,” said the institute’s release.

The institute quoted research by Irene Ip at the Bank of Canada, which shows that more women have entered the labour force over the last 60 years.

This is largely attributed to: (1) society being increasingly accepting of working women, (2) the availability and use of family planning which can delay the decision to have children, (3) increasing rates of separation and divorce inducing women into the labour force, and (4) higher levels of education and earning potential which increases the opportunity cost (income sacrificed by leaving the workforce) of having children.

Despite these gains, the percentage of Canadian men in the labour force is roughly 10 per cent higher than Canadian women.

Both male and female labour force participation rates in the Basin-Boundary are five per cent lower than the Canadian rates.

Further, the Globe and Mail recently highlighted Statistics Canada research showing that female full-time wages are only 73.5 per cent of those of males.

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