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Here Are The Best — And Worst — Cities To Be A Woman In Canada
April 23, 2014
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Quebec City ranked as the best place in Canada to be a woman (Photo: REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger)

Of Canada's 20 largest metropolitan areas, Quebec City is the best place to be a woman. And the worst? Edmonton.

Those rankings come from a new study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, an Ottawa-based think-tank. The report compared how women can expect to fare in five different areas: economic security, leadership, health, personal security and education.

A few highlights from the report: overall, cities in Quebec do better than those in the rest of Canada, with Quebec City, Montreal and Sherbrooke all making the top 10. Alberta, on the other hand, has the most inequality, with Calgary and Edmonton both at the back of the pack. Women in Ottawa-Gatineau earn the most of any women across the country, while those in Calgary experience the lowest levels of poverty. Ontario's Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area, meanwhile, had the highest levels of stress, and Oshawa, ON reported the highest gap in stress between men and women (women had about double the level of men).

The study found the smallest gender gaps in the area of educational attainment, with women slightly more likely to finish high school, college and university — except in the trades, where men are twice as likely to finish vocational training. Likewise, the study found Canadian women's health and life expectancy often surpassed that of men.

Bigger gaps were found in employment rate and wages. The cities that did the best on this measure — like Ottawa-Gatineau and Quebec City — tended to have high levels of public-sector workers, who in turn have stronger pay equity rules. Calgary and Edmonton were on the bottom on this scale, particularly because of "the concentration of higher-paying, male-dominated industries, such as mining and construction."

Across the country, political representation by women was low, with only one in four provincial and federal parliamentarians being women, and city councils were a little better at one in three. Two cities — Waterloo and Victoria — actually had more women on city council than men, and Quebec City was near parity.

Unsurprisingly, women were much more likely to be the victim of intimate partner and sexual violence throughout Canada than men were.

To produce the ranking, each city was scored on a variety of indicators from 0 to 1.0, with a score of 1 representing equality between the genders. The report was looking at this gender gap instead of overall well-being; so although Edmonton, for example, had the highest median income, it also had the biggest gap in paychecks between men and women, and scored poorly. The data for the various indicators was mostly derived from Statistics Canada surveys and reports.

Here's the entire ranking for the study:

  1. Québec City
  2. Saskatoon
  3. St. John’s
  4. Montreal
  5. Victoria
  6. Toronto
  7. Ottawa-Gatineau
  8. Sherbrooke
  9. Halifax
  10. Hamilton
  11. Regina
  12. Winnipeg
  13. Vancouver
  14. St. Catharines
  15. London
  16. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo
  17. Calgary
  18. Windsor
  19. Oshawa
  20. Edmonton

To read more about the report's methodology, and explore profiles of each city, visit the CCPA website.

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