Respect Group is proud to be a Founding Corporate Partner of The Prosperity Project, an organization aiming to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on Canadian women. This project focuses on the economic importance of gender equality in all stages of pandemic recovery, recognizing the diverse needs and approaches required to support all Canadian women (The Prosperity Project, 2020).
The initiatives to support this goal include a matching program between non-profit organizations that serve women with working professionals who can volunteer their time to boost staff resources and support in addressing resource gaps (The Prosperity Project, 2020). Further, several research projects are planned, including a National Long-Term Prosperity Study that is currently seeking participants; and an advocacy campaign supporting the Rosie Mentorship Program, matching women working in STEM and skilled trades with mentors providing one-on-one guidance and support over the course of 6 months (The Prosperity Project, 2020).
The recent Power Gap series published by the Globe & Mail emphasizes the importance of organizations like The Prosperity Project in working towards gender equality and equity in the Canadian workforce. Research from salary records in 4 key public pillars- universities, cities, provincial governments and public corporations- shows a clear power gap in the workforce existing before the pandemic, with women outnumbered, outranked, and out-earned by their male colleagues across the middle- and top-levels of management (Doolittle & Wang, 2021). The authors identify a clear trend of a ‘leaky pipeline’ versus a glass ceiling, with gender equity across roles stalling out at middle management, leaving fewer women progressing to top-level executive positions (Doolittle & Wang, 2021). For instance, less than 5% of Canada’s largest publicly traded corporations are led by female CEOs, with more male CEOs named Michael than female CEOs in total (Grant, 2021). Beyond the immediate impacts on women in the workforce, this contributes to long-term systemic issues around female representation. A lack of women in positions of power means young women and girls don’t see themselves reflected in corporate leadership positions (Grant, 2021).
The impact of the pandemic has only widened the power gap, with women’s participation rate in the workforce plunging to a 30-year low in April 2020 (Grant, 2021). Though this rate has improved greatly since then, concerning trends have appeared since, including women in their early 20s and late 30s leaving the workforce; women still in the workforce having their working hours reduced further than those of their male counterparts; and according to research from The Prosperity Project, one-third of Canadian women have considered quitting their jobs due to stress and family pressure (Grant, 2021). Ensuring that women have the resources and capacity needed to return to the workforce and reach their fullest potential not only supports gender equity, but families, communities, and economies as a whole (Grant, 2021).
For these reasons and more, Respect Group is proud to partner with The Prosperity Project in supporting gender equity in the workforce and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more about their work at https://canadianprosperityproject.ca/.
Doolittle, R., and Wang, C. (2021, January 21). This is the power gap: Explore the investigative series and data. The Globe & Mail. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-power-gap/
Grant, T. (2021, January 22). Corporate Canada is still a boys’ club, data analysis shows- and COVID-19 could make it more so. The Globe & Mail. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-power-gap-tsx/
The Prosperity Project. (2020). Creating positive change. Retrieved from https://canadianprosperityproject.ca/programs
The Prosperity Project. (2020). What is the prosperity project? Retrieved from https://canadianprosperityproject.ca/about