The situation of women in Canadian society and in the labour market has undergone a massive shift over the past few decades. Women now account for the majority of university graduates.
The gender gap in labour market participation in 2009 narrowed to a small fraction of its size in 1976; and increasingly, women are found in non-traditional occupations and fields of study. That being said, there still are many occupations that reflect historical gender roles. That is because fundamental societal shifts like these typically take place over an extended period of time, reflecting changes in behaviours of successive cohorts of young people.
The past decades have seen fundamental shifts take place in the nature of female participation in the labour market. While women still predominate in what may be considered to be traditionally female occupations, they have also made gains in a number of non-traditional occupations as well.
An important factor behind these shifts has been the steep rise in educational attainment among women. This is especially the case at the university level. Furthermore, successive generations of young women are graduating with university degrees in ‘non-traditional’ fields of study. This would suggest that changes in the occupations held by women will continue to be observed over time.
That being said, there are some segments of the labour market where little change has taken place. This is especially the case for occupations in the trades, where, with few exceptions, men still account for the vast majority of trade certificate holders.
© Statistics Canada
- Thursday, April 29, 2010