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Deloitte: Uneven Progress of Female Leaders in Canada

By Rob Starr, Content Manager,

Carleton University’s Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership released a comprehensive benchmarking study today that outlines the uneven progress of female leaders in Canada and the challenges to achieving parity in the private, public and non-profit sectors.

The report, compiled in collaboration with Deloitte Canada and written by Carleton professors Pauline Rankin and Jennifer Stewart, shows that women held only 29 per cent of senior management positions in Canada in 2011, although they constituted 47 per cent of the workforce, just a six per cent increase since 1987. And there is significant variation across industries, with energy, retail and wholesale, and manufacturing well below average levels.

Among other findings:

  • Women are under-represented in senior posts even in sectors where they constitute a significant percentage of middle managers and have the best educational credentials.
  • Definitions of good leadership have changed but that hasn’t resulted in significant changes to the expectations women leaders face.
  • Access of minority women to leadership positions requires special attention.
  • There are major data gaps on women leaders in some areas.
  • There are emerging generational gaps in ideas about work and leadership that need to be addressed.

Recommendations include supporting the shared responsibility of women and men for all aspects of family-related care duties as sector-wide initiatives are implemented to address gaps of women in the senior ranks.


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