Calgary, Edmonton rank poorly in Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada study

Alberta's biggest cities rank near the bottom on a list of the best cities to be a woman in Canada.

New report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looks at gender gap in 25 cities

Out of the 27 city councillors in Edmonton and Calgary, only three are women. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says that is one reason why Alberta's biggest cities rank low on its list for the best cities for women. (CBC)

Alberta's biggest cities rank near the bottom on a list of the best cities to be a woman in Canada.

The study looks at the gender gap in 25 Canadian cities. It gives Calgary a poor ranking at 23, just ahead of Edmonton.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looked at five different areas for the study: economic security, leadership, health, personal security and education.

Calgary Coun. Druh Farrell says Alberta's dependence on the male-dominated oil industry may explain why the two cities both ranked so poorly.

The study agreed, finding regions that depend on predominantly male industries — like oil and gas and construction — tend to land at the end of this list.

"Men hold 88 per cent of the jobs in construction and 76 per cent of the jobs in the extractive sector in Alberta," said the report.

Women in Calgary were also more likely than men to report high levels of stress in their lives. 

Wage gap

However, the study did find that women in Calgary are among the most educated of the 25 cities, with 28 per cent holding university degrees. It also says rates of sexual assault and intimate partner violence reported to the police in Calgary are lower than average.

The report also notes that women hold only two of the 15 elected seats on Calgary's city council, and there is a significant wage gap in the city. The report found that women earn 65 per cent of what men make in Calgary.

Edmonton is slightly lower with women earning 59 cents on the male dollar.

"While Edmonton can boast some of the highest wages in the country, it also has one of the biggest gaps in what men and women earn, with women who work full time bringing home $16,000 less annually than men," said the report.

The provincial capital has only one woman serving on council. The report also says rates of sexual assault and intimate partner violence reported to the police in Edmonton are higher than average. 

The best city for women, according to the study, is Victoria, B.C.

With files from The Canadian Press


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