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City lagging on closing gender gap, study says

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Winnipeg still has a lot of work to do when it comes to closing the gender gap.

According to a study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Friday, Winnipeg ranks 12th among cities for women living and working in this country. The study, entitled The Best and Worst Place to be a Woman in Canada, measures how women match up to their male counterparts in five different areas (economic security, leadership, health, personal security and education).

Quebec City comes in as the best place to be a woman in this country, while Edmonton ranks last among the 20 major Canadian metropolitan markets.

From the study, which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/lsonpmj, the Manitoba capital falls in the middle of the pack in most categories.

In terms of employment, Winnipeg women see a higher rate of employment than the national average, but continue to lag behind men. The 10 per cent gap between men (71 per cent employment) and women (61 per cent) is higher than the national average.

On top of that, the study found women earn $10,000 less than men in Winnipeg, and thus are more likely to live below the poverty line than the opposite sex.

In terms of leadership roles in business and government, Winnipeg women are right in the middle of the national rankings. According to the report, only 31 per cent of women hold senior management positions, while only three women (Paula Havixbeck, Jenny Gerbasi, Devi Sharma) make up the 16-member city council.

Health-wise, women in Winnipeg generally feel better than men. The report found 65 per cent of women say they're in good or excellent health, as opposed to 56 per cent of men indicating the same.

Winnipeg has the highest rates of police-reported incidents of sexual assault among the Top 20 cities, with close to 500 incidents of sexual and domestic violence reported in a year. The study concludes up to 90 per cent of sexual- and domestic-violence incidents go unreported, therefore the level of violence against women is much higher.

Finally, while women are more likely to pursue a high school, college or university degree, they lag far behind in the trades. Men continue to outnumber women among trades and apprenticeships at a rate of more than two to one in Winnipeg.

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2014 A11

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