VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Women are facing increased pressure across Canada on the job front because of COVID-19, according to a survey that points to systemic problems in the country’s broader economic structure.
Commissioned by the Prosperity Project, a group advocating for women during this pandemic, the survey of 1,000 people finds at least one in three women across Canada have thought about leaving their jobs to spend time focusing on their families.
In partnership with @Pollara, we see firsthand how COVID-19 is affecting women’s career decisions. If we don’t act now, women risk losing decades of progress https://t.co/fIrEOHOuXE #workingwomen #pandemicrecovery #whenwomensucceedweallprosper pic.twitter.com/0OLLLruH4M
— The Prosperity Project (@CA_prosperity) September 10, 2020
Less than 20 per cent of men considered the same thing despite both men and women agreeing it has been difficult juggling children, family, and work during the pandemic, according to the poll.
The project’s founder, Pamela Jeffery, says the amount of women who feel stressed and want to leave work is a worrying sign for economic recovery.
“We need collective strategies and actions to address the pressures that are forcing so many women to think about leaving the workforce,” she says. “Many families are dual-income and if that changes, the economic consequences will be catastrophic.”
The survey also found more women than men across the country have been laid off, or have seen their salaries cut due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.
An ongoing systemic bias in Canada’s economic structure is shown in the survey, and the project argues women are unfairly burdened with family pressures compared to men. As a result, it reinforces a need for change so that women can play a larger role in Canada’s economic future, according to the project’s findings.
“All those household tasks are being largely done by women, even though most families now are ones where both men and women work,” Jeffery says, adding getting past the stereotypes can begin with simple conversations in the home.
“My husband, for example, has started to do a lot more of the grocery shopping.”
She also says parents need more flexibility when it comes to childcare and this isn’t only a woman’s issue.
And while Jeffery notes the survey’s findings aren’t surprising, they are discouraging.
“Even in 2020, they show an ongoing systemic bias, reinforcing the need for a dramatic change in thinking so that women can fully contribute to Canada’s economic future,” Jeffery adds.