Montreal among best Canadian cities for women, study says

The annual study ranks Canadian cities based on indicators including economic security, personal security, education, health and positions of leadership.

4 Quebec cities in Canadian top 10, according to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Women in Montreal hold more jobs in leadership roles and elected office, the report found. (The Associated Press)

Montreal, Quebec City, Gatineau and Sherbrooke are within the top 10 best Canadian cities for women, according to a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The study ranks 25 Canadian cities based on indicators including economic security, personal security, education, health and positions of leadership.

Victoria, B.C., is first and Windsor, Ont., is at the bottom.

Montreal is ranked as the sixth best city in Canada, right after Quebec City and Gatineau, while Sherbrooke sits in seventh place. 

Kate McInturff, the author of the report and senior researcher at the centre, said Quebec cities fared well for several reasons, most notably for their narrow salary gap between men and women.

Universal subsidized daycare makes Quebec a more inviting place for women to live. (CBC)

"No one has closed it yet, but Montreal along with the other Quebec cities have narrowed the gap between what men and women earn for doing the same work for the same number of hours," McInturff told CBC Montreal's Homerun.

Some of what makes Quebec unique — such as universal subsidized daycare and a provincial framework for addressing sexual violence — also make the province a more inviting place for women to live.

Former Quebec premier Pauline Marois introduced $5-a-day daycare during her time as education minister in 1997. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

"The research is really clear in Canada and European countries and around the world — where there is affordable and accessible childcare women are more likely to go to work and be able to work full-time and be able to work for better wages, so that makes a real difference," McInturff said.

Why do women fare better in Montreal?

Women who live in Montreal also benefit from strong community organizations, according to McInturff.

The city also ranks well because it has a higher than average number of women who hold leadership roles or are in elected office. In Montreal, women hold 36 per cent of senior management positions.

Women in Montreal hold more leadership roles and elected office positions. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Both Montreal and the province of Quebec in general also enjoy greater gender equality when it comes to economic development.

"They might not have the biggest salaries or the highest rates of employment, but what you're seeing is there are jobs for women as well as jobs for men there so that's why Montreal does better," McInturff said.

The report shows Montreal also ranked well when it comes to education, with women more likely than men to have completed high school and CEGEP.

Women and men in Montreal are also equally likely to have completed studies at the the university level.