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Canadian women have a way to go

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Summary of story from CBC News, November 2, 2011

Canada lags behind countries like Burundi, Latvia and Guyana when it comes to how much political power women wield relative to men, a new report suggests.

The survey of 135 countries by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum found that Canadian women have nearly closed the gap with men in educational attainment and health, but not in the economic realm, nor — by a wide margin — in politics.

Canada is placed 18th overall in the annual rankings, an improvement from 31st in 2008, but still coming in behind Lesotho, the Philippines and South Africa.

Four Nordic countries — Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden — top the chart in promoting equality of the sexes, and the United States continues its ascent, rising from 19th to 17th place.

“We often make an assumption, not just in Canada but in other countries, that we’ve achieved equality for women and we can move on to talk about other issues,” said Deborah Gillis of Catalyst, an international advocacy group for women in business.

“This is a real reminder and wakeup call to the business community and leaders at all levels in Canada that we have a lot of work to do.”

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