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Canada slips in gender equality worldwide

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Author: 
Harris, Kathleen
Publication Date: 
12 Oct 2010
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Canada has slipped behind the U.S. when it comes to women's equality, but still climbed five spots among the world's top nations in closing the gender gap.

A report from the World Economic Forum released Tuesday shows Canada sits in 20th spot in a global ranking that measures everything from economic and educational attainment to political empowerment and health and survival.

While that's up five notches from last year, Canada now lags behind the U.S, which jumped 12 spots by making wage improvements for women and having a higher number in leading roles in the federal government administration.

Canadian women measure well when it comes to economic participation and opportunity, earning top global spot for professional and technical work and scoring among the top 20 for labour force participation and wage equality for similar work. Canada is also on top in terms of education of women, including literacy rate and enrolment in primary and tertiary education.

But a wide gender gap remains on the political landscape, with Canada ranking 45th for the number of women in Parliament.

Nancy Peckford, executive director of Equal Voice, called Canada's lack of progress compared to other countries "somewhat disappointing."

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Peckford said policies that would make it easier for women to juggle families with political careers along with stronger steps within political parties to recruit women in winnable ridings are key to putting more Canadian women in power.

The WEF report, which ranks 134 countries according to gaps between men and women, shows Nordic countries lead the pack in gender equality, with Iceland ranked first, Norway second and Finland third. Pakistan, Chad and Yemen are at the bottom of the list.

Liberal MP and status of women critic Anita Neville lamented a "pretty sad" record for a country considered progressive, enlightened and privileged.

She said an earnings gap exists that is tied to motherhood, and slammed the Conservative government for scaling back financial investment for advocacy and research for women's issues.

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- reprinted from the Toronto Sun

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Entered Date: 
13 Oct 2010
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