Wage gap amplifies the impact of student debt for women pursuing post-secondary education

OTTAWA, March 7, 2014 /CNW/ - As tuition fees continue to outpace increases in wages, women are left carrying student debt loads significantly longer than their male counterparts.

"International Women's Day is an opportunity to commemorate women's struggle for equity and to reflect on the barriers women are still facing today," said Jessica McCormick, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The rising cost of post-secondary education and the resulting student debt, when coupled with the persisting wage gap, prevents many qualified women from receiving the full benefits of a post-secondary education."

Despite women's advancement in education, a new Statistics Canada report outlines that even with the same amount of time spent in the workforce, women earn significantly less than their male peers throughout the course of their career. In an economy where 7000 jobs were lost last month, women are also ten percent less likely to find a job than men.

The wage gap results in women who graduate with student debt taking longer to pay off loans. With accumulated interest, women who need to borrow to cover the cost of a post-secondary education end up paying more than men.

"When addressing the direct effects of a society that has not reached gender equity, the realities of students owing over $15 billion in student debt cannot be downplayed," said McCormick. "Creating a more just and equitable society must include making access to post-secondary education a priority and immediately taking steps to reduce the up front financial barriers."

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927. 

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Jessica McCormick, National Chairperson, (613) 232-7394

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