Sexism is defined as “the system and practice of discriminating against a person on the basis of sex” (Purple Ribbon Campaign – What is Sexism? Government of Newfoundland and Labrador), but if one were to ask the average Canadian to define the same word, the results would vary enormously. In today’s modern society, people often think that sexism only applies to women in violent domestic cases because that is the type of sexism the media dominantly displays. However, this has been proved to be an incorrect assumption. Violence against females in a domestic setting accounts for a large portion of reported gender-based violence cases, but it does not account for all of it.
During the 2011 Canadian Federal Census, statistics of police-reported violence, grouped by sex and type of offence were recorded. (Source: Statistics Canada)
There are incidents of violence and discrimination against one’s sex reported all around the world every day, and this is only a portion of it that is reported in Canada. This chart does not reflect the amount of cases thought to be unreported by civilians, in which case the numbers would be approximately doubled. “Half of all women over the age of sixteen will be subject to some type of violence in their lifetime” (Violence Against Women Statistics Canada). Clearly it is evident that females are subject to much more violence than their male counterparts. The majority of perpetrators in female-related crimes are males, and the majority of perpetrators in male-related crimes are males. Statistics for female versus male violence are significantly lower.
According to the United States Census Bureau in 2012, “the median earnings of women who worked full time, year-round ($37,791) were 77 percent of that for men working full time, year-round ($49,398).” In short, women are paid just 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. While in the workplace, 28% of women say they have experienced discrimination, and women make up just 18% of United States Congress and 15% of corporate boards. Men account for 96% of Forbes’ Annual Top 500 CEOs list; with women claiming the other 4% (Women are Mistreated at Work? Smith).
Maternity leave was first introduced in British Columbia in 1966, and the federal government responded with its own laws in 1971. Initially, employers were forbidden to employ women in the six weeks after they gave birth. It was then extended to 10 weeks of parental leave and further extended to 35 weeks of maternity leave that Canadians have now. This final change came in 2001 (Maternity/Parental Leave Provisions in Canada Pulkingham and Van Der Gaag). Before any sort of maternity policy was formally enforced, women were forbidden to take any sort of leave after having children, leaving most with no job to come back to, or in the best case scenario, no promotion. With these new policies, the equality between men and women in the workplace are somewhat equal, but not quite.
In specific occupations, for example nursing,...