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Women and the Economy

Women-majority sectors

The pathway to women’s economic recovery is through women-majority sectors, like the nonprofit sector

Any strategy to address the role of women in the economy will miss the mark if it does not focus on women-majority sectors like the care economy (child care, seniors care, social services, etc.). Many economic studies across jurisdictions highlight the power of investing in the care economy for economic recovery. If the approach is not comprehensive, women and women-majority sectors will be left behind despite being key players in the future of work. By addressing barriers for women across the workforce, raising employment standards and stimulating job creation in the care economy, policy-makers can truly move the needle on women’s economic recovery and future well-being.

Stimulating women’s economic recovery in Ontario

A comprehensive and equitable approach to women’s economic recovery in Ontario must be both extensive and targeted. Extensive in that it addresses structural barriers that prevent women’s labour market entry/re-entry and targeted in that it invests in expanding and improving the working conditions of women-majority sectors that tend to be more precarious and undervalued.  

The three critical policy recommendations for this approach are:

  • Remove barriers to women entering or re-entering the labour market; 
  • Raise employment standards for women workers;
  • Create multiple pathways for women to grow and thrive in women-majority sectors and occupations.

Developing an inclusive national action plan for women in the economy

Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Ontario Nonprofit Network, joined together to offer essential recommendations on how to make the federal government’s national action plan for women in the economy a reality. The policy brief outlines how women are being pushed out of paid work at historic rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those in precarious jobs and those who have to sacrifice paid hours for unpaid child and elder care. Centering marginalized women and focusing on initiatives in fragile women-majority sectors – many of them undervalued care industries – can provide women with the broadest and deepest pandemic economic recovery.

The brief outlines two key recommendations for this approach:

  • Overcome barriers to women’s participation in paid employment; 
  • Create the public infrastructure necessary to spur the creation of decent work and shared prosperity for all.

Call to action

  1. Share the briefs with your networks;
  2. Include our recommendations in your policy advocacy work;
  3. Apply a gender and intersectional lens to economic recovery efforts.
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