Although progress is being made toward gender diversity and inclusion in leadership roles, many systemic barriers and forms of discrimination block women’s paths forward.
Here’s a snapshot of women’s representation in professional leadership roles:
Women in Canada hold about a third (35.6%) of management occupations, and 30.9% of senior management level occupations (Statistics Canada, 2022)
When it comes to diversity among women, disaggregated data show that women of colour hold only 6.2% of women-held board, executive, senior management and pipeline-to-senior-management positions collectively, with Black women, Indigenous women, women with disabilities and LGBTQ2S+ women each holding less than 1% of women-held senior leadership and pipeline positions, respectively (Prosperity Project, 2022).
In Canadian corporations, women hold 18.3% of board member positions (Statistics Canada, 2021). For racialized women, representation on boards is even more disproportionate. In Toronto, for example, non-racialized women still outnumber racialized women in corporate leadership roles 12:1, despite the fact that racialized women outnumber non-racialized women in the general population (Toronto Metropolitan University Diversity Institute, 2020).
Just 4% of Canada’s largest publicly traded companies have a woman CEO (Globe & Mail, 2021).
Here’s a snapshot of women’s representation in political leadership roles:
Women make up 29% of Canada’s House of Commons (as of July 2021), which is the highest percentage in Canada’s history (Statistics Canada, 2022), yet falls significantly short of the 50% that would be considered a true representation of our population.
Although each of the last four elections has returned a new record number of women to Canada’s House of Commons, the percentage representation by women only moved from 22% to 29.6% in the twelve years from 2008 to 2020. At this rate of change, closing this gender gap is more than 30 years away (Canadian Women’s Foundation, Resetting Normal, 2021).
A 2022 global ranking of gender equality in National Parliaments ranked Canada at #59, placing it behind countries including Rwanda, Ecuador and Armenia. (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2022).
Women hold 15% of provincial premier positions, 18% of mayors’ positions and 28% of councillors’ seats in Canada (Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 2018).