TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is launching a campaign to bring attention to the gender pay gap in Ontario. Female university graduates make an average of about $300,000 less over the course of their career as compared to male university graduates, according to Statistics Canada. The Pay Equity Commission of Ontario calculates that the overall gender pay gap in Ontario is still 30 per cent.
"It's incredibly important to make sure that the gender pay gap is a problem that young adults are aware of, and feel empowered to have conversations about," said Jen Carter, President of OUSA. "The gap is not shrinking the way one would expect, especially given that more women than men are now graduating from university in Ontario. As the generation moving into the workforce, it's time to start making some noise and critically looking at how and why these inequities continue to be perpetuated."
A recent study by the Fraser Institute indicated that women who pursue post-secondary education are nonetheless subject to a sizeable pay difference with their male peers. For every dollar a university-educated man makes in the public sector, a university-educated woman makes 82 cents. In the private sector, this number drops to 73 cents.
"The government invests in students to invest in a healthy society," said Carter. "As it stands right now, the majority of Ontario's 'young, bright future stock' is yielding lower returns. Working to end the gender pay gap is in everyone's best interests."
One aspect of the campaign depicts the fictional "Bachelorette Degree," parodying how workplaces seemingly differentiate educational qualifications by gender. Students are encouraged to engage on social media about their #bachelorettedegree and why they want to end the pay gap.
"Talking about the 'Bachelorette Degree' is an attempt to satirize the way women's education is undervalued in our society," said Shawn Murphy, OUSA Steering Committee member and Trent-Oshawa Student Union vice president of university affairs. "It's ridiculous to think that our universities would issue his-and-hers degrees to graduates-that would be degrading and obviously wrong. Yet research shows that your gender identity has a very real impact on your ability to leverage your education in the workplace."
The campaign rolls out at OUSA-affiliated schools from now until the end of February, but Carter hopes the conversation will spread to campuses across the province.
"Young women in Ontario have shown themselves to be incredibly resourceful and primed to succeed within our post-secondary system," says Carter. "This campaign is an attempt to educate and empower young adults to continue to push the envelope and insist on changing their future. Its time to ensure young graduates of all genders feel entitled to equal treatment when they make the transition into employment"
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member associations across Ontario.
SOURCE Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
For further information: For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Jasmine Irwin, Director of Communications, C: 647-828-2257, T: (416) 341-9948, E: [email protected]; W: www.ousa.ca, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educatedsolutions, Twitter: @OUSA