Editorial | Let's get real about salary equity

publication date: Feb 27, 2019
author/source: Ann Rosenfield

I've done the math.

I have gone through my career, year by year.

I have calculated the salary gap for each year.

Over the course of 30 years, I have made $500,000 less compared to my male counterparts with similar jobs and similar levels of experience.

Now let's get real. According to MacLeans, Canadian research finds that the pay gap for women of colour is even sharper - earning 55.6% of what non-racialized men earned

That same study, by Sheila Block and Grace-Edward Galabuzi, found racialized men made 77.9 cents for every dollar that non-racialized men earn. 

According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, as reported by the Canadian Women's Foundation, "women with a disablity in Canada working full- and part-time earn approximately 54 cents to the dollar when compared to the earnings on non-disabled men, equaling a wage gap of around 46%."

When Hilborn published our groundbreaking Canadian salary survey in the 1990s, the wage gap in the charitable sector was exactly the same as it was in other sectors.

The charity sector is the sector that is supposed to make a significant difference in making our society better. A wage gap in our sector hurts us as a society and as a sector.

We have a challenge and an opportunity. 

As leaders, we need to highlight this issue. The Ontario Nonprofit Network has done excellent work, through their Decent Work project that includes ideas on a policy and organizational level.

We need to pay attention to studies on the wage gap and take action. We need to be meeting with our human resources colleagues. Asking ourselves tough questions like whether our organization is helping, or hurting the wage gap.

As an individual, I have used wage surveys to negotiate for a more fair wage for myself. And that has helped. But I am still down $500,000 over the course of my career. Personal advocacy isn't going to make this right all on its own for our sector. We have to act together.



MacLeans "For women of colour, there's a gap within the pay gap."


2012 Canadian Survey on Disability via the Canadian Women's Foundation

Ontario Nonprofit Network Decent Work



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