Among Canada’s 26 largest cities, Victoria is ranked third for best place to be a woman in, but a report says more needs to be done to improve gender equality.
In a 132-page study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Victoria ranked second for women in the position of leadership, but in the bottom half for economic security, safety and health.
Katherine Scott, who authored the report, says even though 75.9 per cent of working-age women in Victoria held jobs in 2017, the gender gap widened since 2013 when Victoria was the only city to have parity in employment.
Economic prosperity boosted the rate of employment by three per cent more for men than women.
The gap is much larger for full-time employment with 7-in-10 females holding full-time positions compared to 85.5 per cent of male workers.
Employment income for women is in line with the national average at $29,340, 73.9 per cent of what men earned in 2016, which narrows the gap by 1.3 per cent since 2012.
Victoria ranked 17th overall as a safe place for women to live, with a police-reported rate of sexual abuse among women at 125.49 cases per 100,000 population, putting Victoria 24th.
Victoria’s health ranking was 17th, with higher reports of stress in the daily lives of women compared to men.
The life expectancy for women in Victoria is 85 years, compared to 81.1 years for men.
The report ranked Victoria eighth for education and second for leadership, noting women make up 43 per cent of elected officials, including in the mayor’s seat, well above the national average of 34 per cent.
Also above the national average is the rate of women in management positions at 38 per cent, which is also above the level reported in 2013, but the city ranked 10th with regard to its gender gap in management roles.
Kingston, Ontario was ranked first, followed by St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Vancouver was fifth.
The report says the difference between the top city and the bottom, occupied by Barrie, Ontario, is not much and is a signal that all cities need to make improvements.