Men almost twice as likely as women to think gender inequality overblown

TORONTO — Canadian men are almost twice as likely as women to think gender inequality is being "blown way out of proportion," a survey released for International Women's Day suggests.

Leger polled more than 3,000 Canadians online in October on the topic on behalf of the Association for Canadian Studies and the University of Manitoba. It found that while most people believe the issue of gender inequality is important, a significant minority believe it is overblown.

More than 30 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women who answered the survey believe the response to gender inequality is blown out of proportion.

The survey suggests men between 30 and 34 are the most likely age group to believe gender inequality is overhyped, at 34.6 per cent, compared to 14.3 per cent of women that age.

Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, said evidence suggesting that women are economically disadvantaged is out there, pointing to Statistics Canada's findings that women earned 11.1 per cent less than their male counterparts per hour.

Statistics Canada says the wage gap persists between men and women with similar jobs and is widest for those who work in front-line public protection services and paraprofessional occupations, where women earn an average of $0.64 for every dollar men make per hour.

"We need to do better work educating Canadians about this phenomenon," Jedwab said by phone from Vancouver. "Not just on one or two days a year when it's International Women's Day."

He said the biggest gap between men and women's perception of gender inequality exists among those who went to trade school.

Just over 40 per cent of men who have a trade certificate or diploma said the response to gender inequality is too strong, compared to 15.7 per cent of women with that level of education.

"Women with trade certificates are feeling the level of inequity is very significant and I suspect that indeed it probably is very significant for people with trade certificates, which are traditionally male-dominated professions," Jedwab said.

On average, women in the trades earn 20 per cent less per hour than their male counterparts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2023.

The Canadian Press