3.1 C
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Summer jobs, and what they pay, aren’t created equal

Girl Guides survey finds that even today girls tend to be paid less than boys when taking on seasonal work


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

New MP jumps to the next stage

Ever since he was elected as the new Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga during the October...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...


overcast clouds
3.1 ° C
6 °
0 °
70 %
90 %
6 °
7 °
5 °
2 °
1 °

The summer job season on the horizon, boys and girls alike will be searching for employment. Unlike each other, however, will be what they take to the bank, with the girls continuing to lag behind their male counterparts.

A national survey by Girl Guides of Canada polled boys and girls ages 12-18 on their work experiences during the summer of 2018. The results found that girls earn approximately $3 less per hour – $15.26, compared to $18.01 for boys. For informal work, done for family, friends or neighbours, the gap is significantly larger: $14.98 for boys, versus $8.67 for girls.

That said, Kris McGee, administrative community leader for Girl Guides in Kitchener-Waterloo, noted she does not see that reflected in the local job market.

“I do think that locally our employers do an excellent job of paying males and females the same, for the same job,” said McGee.

“We do run into the fact that we do have females that are taking lower-paid jobs – they may be taking babysitting jobs for example. There are more girls babysitting, as opposed to the boys, for example, working at the hockey rink. Which is a stereotypical example, and it’s less and less to this day, but I don’t think that I can give a really good example of how that difference has impacted girls locally.”

Some of the survey’s findings aligned with McGee’s example. It found an over-representation in particular sectors, depending on gender.

Girls are over-represented in “caring” jobs, such as babysitting, eldercare or working at a daycare, with girls at 28 per cent, versus boys at 17 per cent.

On the other hand, boys were over-represented in maintenance, gardening or groundskeeping – 23 per cent compared to girls at 9 per cent. Manufacturing or construction was another male-dominated sector at nine per cent, versus girls at three per cent.

McGee said that girls are paid the same amount for doing the same kind of work, from her personal experience.

“One thing I could highlight as a positive – both my daughters, they’re now young adult women – one continues to work for the UPI in St. Jacobs,” added McGee. “Both of them were hired by the UPI in St Jacobs as female employees and are treated incredibly well. Well-respected and paid certainly as well as any of the male employees.”

The survey brought up another notable statistic: 79 per cent of girls said that they could not negotiate compensation.

“We actually found that the numbers were fairly similar for boys and girls. And it’s not a surprise because even for adults, it’s difficult for them to negotiate a salary,” said Jill Zelmanovits, CEO for Girl Guides of Canada.

As a result of these findings, Zelmanovits said Girl Guides of Ontario is introducing a new program coming out in the fall.

“One of our program streams is called Gender Power. Where we look at equipping girls with what they need to get what they want. As a result of this study, we’re developing special activities around negotiating your salary,” explained Zelmanovits. “You have to not necessarily take the salary that’s first offered but have the chance to negotiate back and forth.”

The most unnerving part of the study found summer jobs can pose a risk for assault or harassment, with 13 per cent of girls and 11 per cent of boys reporting an incident during their summer job in 2018.

For low-income families (making $40,000 or less annually) that risk nearly doubles: 23 per cent of reported sexual harassment or abuse on the job.

“That number should be zero,” said Zelmanovits. “In 2019 … that number should be zero.”

The report encourages ways for employers and parents to make the workplace safer for girls, including “consider how jokes or nicknames might feel particularly harmful or uncomfortable to someone in their first job” and encouraging girls, if they’re interested, to sign up for traditionally male-dominated jobs.

It’s also best to instil this kind of confidence in girls from a young age, adds Zelmanovitz, so that it can translate well into adulthood.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


New watering system is powered by the sun

Many hands may make light work, but automating the process really lessens the load. That’s especially helpful when the work involves relying on volunteers to provide the manual labour.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Woolwich stays course with economic development

Woolwich’s vacant economic development and tourism officer (EDTO) position will be retained, councillors decided this week despite any numbers or measures to show...

Woolwich adopts new landscape guidelines for subdivisions as part of greening initiatives

Talk of trees right now typically involved the adjective Christmas, but Woolwich council is focusing just now on guidelines for planting in new...

Sugar Kings turn the screws on Brampton

Another home-and-home winning weekend helped the Elmira Sugar Kings solidify their hold on top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. A pair of...

Junior girls’ capture EDSS’ first WCSSAA basketball title

In a season that already saw the team rack up win after win, the EDSS junior girls’ basketball team reached new heights...

EDSS looks to make use of new push for skilled-trades training

With measures taken on the provincial level to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades, EDSS is in the process...

New St. Clements fire station officially open for service

The new fire station in St. Clements was officially declared open for service last Saturday. The $1.3-million project...
- Advertisement -