More money for men: CBC analysis shows women less likely to make Sunshine List
'I won't stand here and tell you I'm pleased with where we are,' says Cathy Bennett
Women make up more than half of the civil service, but analysis done by CBC News shows they're less likely than their male counterparts to make it onto the Sunshine List of high income earners.
Overall, women make up 50.2 per cent of the workforce within the core civil service.
But the provincial government's newly released list of workers making more than $100,000 in 2016 shows that women make up only 41 per cent of the Sunshine List.
The province didn't include gender when publishing the list, but CBC used the names to analyze the breakdown of men and women.
"I won't stand here and tell you that I'm pleased with where we are. I don't think any woman, or any man would stand here and say they're pleased, we have a lot of work to do," Finance Minister Cathy Bennett told CBC News when presented with the analysis.
Bennett is also the minister responsible for the status of women.
She said there has been progress on reaching gender parity but she'd like to see an equal number of women and men on the Sunshine List
Bennett said the current discrepancy is due in part to demographics — government has recently made more progress in hiring women, but with less experience they'll be paid less than older workers who are more predominantly men.
Culture change needed
One department where there's still a big gap is the Department of Transportation and Works.
Women make up just 14 per cent of the workforce in that department and just six per cent of the workers making more than $100,000.
Bennett said much of the work in that department has traditionally been male dominated
"You need to see cultures in workplaces change, you need to see culture around apprenticeship programs change, and those are things that we continue to work on," said Bennett.
RNC gender imbalance
Female Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers are also less likely than their male counterparts to make it onto the Sunshine List.
The force has made progress in hiring more women — they now make up 28 per cent of the ranks — but only 20 per cent of the officers who made the Sunshine List were female.
CBC was able to compile that information after the provincial government inadvertently posted the names of RNC workers in one of the spreadsheets connected to the Sunshine List.
It had decided to post no names, making it impossible for the public to compare the number of men and women earning top salaries in the police force.
The Constabulary insists there's no problem with those numbers.
"Those Constables who appeared on the RNC's Compensation Disclosure listing were in receipt of earnings such as overtime, court time, statutory holiday pay, etc. and is not gender-driven," Constable Geoff Hidgon told CBC in a written statement.
Work at home
Jenny Wright, who heads the St. John's status of women council says women are often still the main caregivers.
"Women are often in a position where they can't take that extra overtime to get them up to that second level because they have a whole second job they have to do at home," says Wright.
She said there's no child care available for shift workers, meaning some women may not be able to take more shifts if they're looking after children or in some cases, their own parents.
Bennett agreed that the lack of child care is holding some women back, and said her government has created more spaces, and the introduction of all-day kindergarten also helps.
'Old boys network' still exists: NDP
New Democrat member of the House of Assembly, Gerry Rogers, has pushed government for legislation to help even the playing field for women
"What we see here, and what you've uncovered here is not at all surprising," she said.
Earlier this year she put forward a private member's resolution calling for pay equity legislation. It was unanimously supported.
Bennett said her department is still researching similar legislation in other provinces. She hopes to introduce the legislation next spring.
"Catching up doesn't happen just because of good will, there are still existing glass ceilings for women, we need legislation," said Rogers.
"The old boys network — that still exists, so there's a lot of work to do."