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April 13, 2016

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April 13, 2016
For Immediate Release

WATERLOO – Tammy Schirle, director of the Laurier Centre for Economic Research and Policy Analysis, is co-leading a project examining the sources of Ontario’s gender wage gap in the private sector.

Schirle’s project, in partnership with Ana Ferrer from the University of Waterloo, is one of only three from across the province funded by the Ontario Pay Equity Office’s Gender Wage Gap Grant Program.

Schirle and Ferrer are exploring the industries in which the gender wage gap is more likely to represent systemic discrimination. Past research shows that large parts of the wage gap have been excused because the gap relates to differences in the occupations typically pursued by men and women, and it is assumed that these occupational differences also reflect differences in productive skills. In Schirle and Ferrer’s study, they directly examined gender differences in the skills required by a person’s job.

“Our results suggest that in some industries, women actually appear more skilled than men, but are paid less for their skills as they are segregated into ‘women’s’ jobs within the industry,” said Schirle, associate professor in Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. “In the construction industry, for example, there is a 19 per cent difference between men’s and women’s wages. Here, if men and women were paid the same wages for the same skills, we would not see any gender wage gap at all.”

Schirle says that these results, however, are not universally true. In the professional, scientific and technical services industry, gender differences in wages that relate to occupational gender segregation also represent gender differences in job skills.

“On Equal Pay Day it is important to highlight Professor Schirle’s efforts to address the gender wage gap,” said Robert Gordon, vice-president: research. “Her work gives us particular insight into inequities that deeply affect the Canadian economy.”

Schirle has testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee for the Status of Women. She specializes in labour economics and public policy, with a focus on the economics of gender. She also teaches undergraduate courses about the economics of gender.

About Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day takes place annually to recognize the difference between what equally qualified men and women are paid for equal work. Equal Pay Day is used to demonstrate that women – who generally earn less than men – must work longer to earn the same amount that men earned in the previous year. In 2016, Equal Pay Day falls on April 19

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Tammy Schirle, Associate Professor
School of Business and Economics
Director, Laurier Centre for Economic Research & Policy Analysis

T: 519.884.0710 x3849


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications and Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070



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