Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux (centre) delivers toys to Salish Secondary student volunteers in December, 2019. Cadieux argues that B.C. needs to bring in pay-equity legislation. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

OPINION: We need to do more to bridge the pay gap writes Cadieux

Stephanie Cadieux argues for stand-alone, pay equity legislation

Women have been achieving success in sports, politics, and the corporate world for a long time now.

Their hard-work, dedication and commitment has enabled many businesses to thrive because of the diverse perspectives and decision making they bring to their organizations.

Sunday, March 8, 2020 is International Women’s Day — a day to celebrate the cultural, social, political and economic achievements of women. Yearly, this day is also an opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of Surrey’s female entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Annie Christiaens is an example of a local entrepreneur who is thriving by following her dreams and taking the risk to launch her own retail shop: The Heart.

Likewise, Katrina Amurao is an example of a local business leader who has achieved success as a realtor and is one of the finalists for the 2020 Surrey Women in Business Awards in the small business category.

The success and achievements of entrepreneurs and businesswomen such as Annie and Katrina are commendable.

Following one’s dreams is often harder than it looks. As an entrepreneur, it takes gumption and a willingness to accept risk and plenty of hard work. Self-employment is not for everyone.

There are plenty of examples of women successfully climbing the corporate ladder too and excelling in careers across the spectrum from law to science to medicine.

Despite the positive examples we all know personally, research reveals women are still paid less than men even if they possess similar knowledge, skills and abilities.

Furthermore, recent research discloses that three-quarters of British Columbia’s female public sector employees fall within the public sector’s lowest salary bracket.

The province’s top-25 salary list only includes six women.

Though the public sector has made efforts to maintain balance in its male and female workforce ratio, unfortunately, British Columbia does not currently have pay equity legislation.

In other Canadian provinces where pay equity legislation is in place, the gap between men and women’s pay is significantly lower. Clearly, we can and should do more to bridge the gap — not just for the public sector — but in every sector of the workforce.

I feel strongly that it is high time we address this issue in BC and as such, have twice introduced private member’s bills in the Legislature.

The introduction of my bill is an attempt to start a real conversation on this issue in BC, with a goal to find real solutions. The proposed bill would mandate organizations with fifty or more employees to report the difference of pay between men and women.

I remain hopeful the government will recognize that equal pay is not a partisan issue and will work towards the elimination of the province’s wage gap, using the recognized best practice of stand-alone, pay-equity legislation.

Stephanie Cadieux is the MLA for Surrey South.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

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