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Diversity and participation of women in leadership positions

Women make up half of the labor force in Canada. The levels of education attained by women in Canada are also comparable to those of men. But at the highest levels of leadership and management, women are not represented to the same extent as their composition in the labor force indicates. They face barriers to advancement. In fact, Canada lags behind other economically advanced countries in economic opportunities and political empowerment for women. According to a recent Statistics Canada study, women are underrepresented in leadership, corporate governance and strategic decision-making positions. Women belonging to visible minorities, aboriginals or disabled are the least represented. Intersecting identities, often overlooked, affect or prevent women's advancement in the labor market. What kinds of solutions can be sought to break down barriers and advance women of all identities in the labor market?
 
As this Statistics Canada study shows, one starting point is to examine the socio-economic characteristics of women in leadership. Variables such as family, professional and income disparities, in addition to the size of professional networks, influence the progression trajectories of women in the labor market and their inclusion. It is important to recognize how changing social and economic factors affect opportunities for women. The types of companies where women have the opportunity to contribute the most in leadership positions are also considered.
 
Like Statistics Canada, the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University created the Diversity Leads report to better understand the representation of women in leadership across various sectors. Using an intersectional approach, this report tracks and analyzes the representation of women, Black people and other visible minorities in board member roles in the corporate, volunteer, education and medical sectors. in eight Canadian cities. According to the Diversity Institute, women are underrepresented, but according to Statistics Canada reports, non-racialized women outnumber racialized women in the highest levels of leadership. There are also limitations to finding public quantitative data. Therefore, the report writers also sought out interviews with racialized minorities to understand experiences and identify potential solutions and strategies for change.

This article is part of the Systemic Engagement campaign. Funded by Heritage Canada:

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