Gender Equity

Ninety-six per cent of child care workers in the regulated child care sector are female.  Since the ECEC sector is female-dominated, gender equity is not about strategies for encouraging more equal representation of women. It's not even focused on increasing representation of women in managerial ranks.

However, the high percentage of women in the ECEC sector's workforce and managerial ranks means that employers need to be very aware of how best to support and retain their female employees. In addition, the lower level of wages in a female-dominated sector is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Practical and supportive practices

To understand how to best support female employees means understanding what female employees value and expect in a workplace. The Canadian Policy Research Network's (CPRN) research on human resources in the nonprofit sector indicates that the following practices are important:

Work-life balance

Almost 20% of all paid employees in the nonprofit sector are women with at least one child under 12 years of age at home (compared to 14.2% in the for-profit sector). The 2001 National Work-Life Conflict study determined that women are more likely to feel stressed by the combined demands of work and family responsibilities. Therefore, offering a flexible and family-friendly workplace is important and workplace policies need to reflect the needs of female employees.

Support advancement

Women in the nonprofit sector are far less likely than those in the for-profit sector to say that they have received a promotion (26% and 39%, respectively). Therefore, creating professional development plans and mentoring female employees are important strategies.

In addition, pay inequity between male and female employees needs to be addressed. For instance, a 2005 report by the Calgary Centre for Non-Profit Management entitled Addressing the Leadership Challenge found that:

"Salaries follow a differing pattern depending upon whether the executive is male or female. Female executive salaries tend to be skewed toward the lower end of the distribution and males to the upper end. Thirty-four percent of female executives report salaries under $50,000 compared to 15% of males. Forty-two percent of males report earning over $75,000 versus 20% of females."