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According to a Statistics Canada report, one in five Canadian women lives in a low-income situation. Thats the shocking impact of the wage gap. And thats one reason why raising womens wages is so important at CUPE. The facts clearly show that women are having a hard time making ends meet. Consider this:

On average a woman earns 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. Over a year a man working full-time earns an average $14,600 more than a woman working full-time. In the public services sector the gap is lower, but the difference is still a staggering $11,400.

More than 72% of part-time workers are women. Almost half of those women cannot find full time employment or are caring for children or have other family responsibilities.1 Part-time workers earn on average nearly $4 an hour less than full-time workers. In the last 10 years, the number of women holding multiple jobs has grown by 45%, while the number of men holding multiple jobs has risen by only 4%.

The poverty line for a family of four living in an urban centre is $28,098; in a large urban centre, it is $32,759.2 Compare these figures to a typical starting clerical wage of around $20,000. The impact is clear - today, 56% of families with children headed by a sole-support mother are poor.

For women of colour the wage gap is even bigger. Looking at the unionized sector, women of colour earn $2.50 (or 15%) less than the average hourly wage earned by women, and $4.67 (or 25%) less than the average hourly wage earned by men.2

Wage inequity follows women for life. Because the Canada Pension Plan is based on an individuals earning history, many women retire into poverty. The average CPP benefit currently paid to women is $285 per month; for men it is $410 per month.

1 Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 1999 annual average.

2 Statistics Canada, Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, 1993.