rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Unlucky, lazy, or just female? Why there aren't more women in the top 100

Image: Grant Thornton UK LLP/flickr

You can change the conversation. Chip in to rabble's donation drive today!

Imagine finding $7.96 million in your stocking on Christmas morning. For Canada's top 100 CEOs, that happy day has arrived. These 100 Canadians earn more than 99.9 per cent of the working population of Canada. But if you are a woman, odds are you are not on that happy list. Not now, not ever.

It would take the average working-age woman in Canada 235 years (or 85,778 days) to make as much as one of these CEOs makes in a single year. It would take a first-generation immigrant woman 268 years to do it. Visible minority women and Aboriginal women would have to work the longest, at 273 years and 285 years respectively.

Unless they've got the inside line on eternal life, the top 100 CEOs didn't make those salaries by working 99.9 times harder than everyone else, or just happen to be 99.9 per cent luckier than anyone else. If that were true, they would look just like the 15 million working Canadians who aren't in the top 0.01 per cent. Only richer.

What makes the top 100 CEOs different from the rest of us (aside from the money)? For a start, they are almost entirely men. If the top 100 looked like the rest of working Canadians then 47 per cent of them would be women. In reality only 3 per cent are women.

In a recent survey, senior Canadian executives suggested that a lack of qualifications was the reason for the absence of women at the top. Yet 2 in 5 business post-graduates in Canada are women. Senior executives suggested that women were less ambitious than their male peers. Yet, 81 per cent of female MBA graduates seek corporate jobs following graduation. For those women who do manage to get their foot in the corporate door, there is no lack of hours to work. It's their pay that looks different. Women with MBAs earn $8,167 per year less than their male colleagues in their first jobs after graduation. And the pay gap, here as in every other field, just keeps on growing as they enter their 30s and 40s.

The majority of Canadian corporations surveyed by the Globe and Mail last month have no women on their boards. None. Zero. Nada. When quizzed about this fact, one-third of the Canadian executives polled said they were not at all concerned. More than half of those executives opposed any kind of pro-active policy to ensure that women were better represented at the top of the CEO pile. This is in spite of the evidence that more women at the top of corporations yields benefits for everyone.

Shortchanged from day one, with few models or mentors to lead the way, and a lack of interest from those that do occupy top positions, it should come as no surprise to women in the corporate sector that they make up less than 3 per cent of the 0.01 per cent of earners. That's not luck and it's not laziness. It's discrimination. And it isn't going to change on its own.

Like this article? Chip in to keep stories like these coming!

A list of references cited in this article is available here.

Image: Grant Thornton UK LLP/flickr

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.