The gender pay gap is pretty striking in most parts of the world. In the US, women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Canada, it’s 73 cents. But back in the early 1980s, some foresaw the complete disappearance of that gap, specifically by the year 2017.
An article from 1981 titled, “Equality in wages by the year 2017,” paints the future for Canadian women optimistically, citing the most recent statistics of the time, wages in 1979. During that year, Canadian women earned 63 per cent of what men earned for the same job. But that was all going to change by the year 2017, the author insists.
From the July 2, 1981 article in the Medicine Hat News:
In Canada in 1979, the average working woman earned $11,741, compared to the average man’s salary of $18,537.
These figures are up from 1977, when the average woman earned $9,790 and the average man earned $15,777.
This means women’s salaries, while lower, are growing at a faster rate than men’s —19.9 per cent in two years compared to 17.4
At this rate, women’s salaries will catch up with men’s in the year 2017 when we could all be earning $336,000 annually if inflation stays the same.
But things have levelled off for Canadian women when it comes to closing that gap here in the year 2017.
“Even though Canadian culture has an emphasis on all aspects of diversity, Canada has been quite slow to deal with issues like gender pay gap,” Sarah Kaplan, a professor at the University of Toronto told The Huffington Post Canada last year. “What we do know about Canada’s gender pay gap is that it has plateaued.”
Screenshot from a July 2, 1981 article in the Medicine Hat News about the gender pay gap disappearing in Canada by 2017 (Newspaperarchive.com)
Yes, 73 cents on the dollar in 2017 is certainly better than the 63 cents Canadian women were making in 1979. But it’s pretty embarrassing that we’re well into the second decade of the 21st century and we have yet to reach parity.