The past decades there has been a dramatic increase of women participating in the labor force from countries all over the World including Canada. In 1950, one Canadian worker in five was a woman. By 1980 this percentage had doubled, and women are expected to make up more than 44 percent of the labor force by the end of this century.
The increase in female participation started occurring during the 1970’s. This increase also caused the largest baby boom that the Canadian female labor force had ever witnessed. In North America it is common for women to have part-time or summer jobs, and the participation rate of teenage girls is high. It is also mostly high throughout the world in places as United Kingdom because of the fewer women going to school. But in places like France, Italy, and Japan the female participation rate is very low. In most of the countries the labour force is most participated in the age groups between 20 and 24. The labor force of mature women is very high in Sweden, because of the encouraged day care facilities, which also provides the females with legislation that provides them with excellent benefits. In Japan there is a drop in female economic activity, the reason why is it affects their marriage and the care of their only child.
An observation of labor force participation rates in Canada show that female rates rose a lot between 1971 and 1981, while the male rate rose unnoticeably. The increase in the female participation rate was found in all age groups except in older women. For women aged 15 to 19 the rate was as almost as high as the men. But the largest increase was in the age group of 25-44 years old, where the rate rose almost 50 percent. This meant that the participation rates of the females had become more alike with the men.
Family status also influenced the female participation rate but later on during 1981 it had a more less affect than in 1971. According to statistics just over one quarter of married women with young children were working, but this later changed and grew by 76 percent over a 10-year period of time. The rate also showed an increase of 47 percent for widowed, divorced, and separated women with children. However single women with young children showed a slight decrease. However the female participation rate is not so much related to family status as today as it was many years ago.
During the period of 1971 through 1981 the involvement of married women went through a major change. Fewer women saw marriage as a reason to interrupt their participation in the job force, and couple tended to postpone having children or not having any at all. While women with young children tended to participate less in the labor market and quit their jobs more frequently than men. Females did the exact opposite of what men did when they had children while working, and in some cases were actually more stable than men without children. This showed that the couple’s attitude towards having children influenced a decrease in the female labor force participation rate.
In 1981 most women spent an average of 1,247 hours a year working, compared with 1,431 hours in 1971 which had dropped about 15 percent. Even men saw their average hours decrease by 13 percent. Not only more women were working, more were working part-time for only part of the year which meant more women on the unemployment rolls. In the 1960’s the unemployment rate for females was 3 percent and ten years later increased to 7 percent. Since June 1982 the unemployment rate for men was 11-13 percent and the women’s just above that rate which could also exceed that of the men near the end of the century. Only about 11 percent of women had part-time jobs because they couldn’t find full-time employment or because they wished to spend more time to their education or their families, or for other reasons. Although 24 percent of the women working part-time would have preferred a full-time job if it had been available.
According to the Statistics Canada study, in 1970 women were extremely poorly paid which showed a big earnings difference than the men. This started changing in the 1970’s, which rose the females earning to 51.2 percent of that of a man. Ten years later it had reached 54.4 percent. If it weren’t for the decrease in annual hours for the females the earnings difference would have been reduced even further. By 1980 the female’s earnings had risen to 72 percent of that of a man.
The female labor force would be incomplete without equal pay for equal or equivalent work. This issue was the most important issue to women in low-paid jobs. If the principal of equal pay for equal work were fully applied men and women would both receive the same hourly wage which would raise female earnings dramatically. The issue of equal pay for equal work most often comes up in discussion to improve the economic status of the women at the bottom of the payroll, many of them who are not in unions.
When women first started entering the labor force they were hassled by the males because they were supposed to traditional work in the house and take care of the family. Which was the reason of their low wages to disapprove of women working. These traditions reflected their wages and the positions people were willing to offer to women. Working women experience problems such as sexual harassment and being fired because of pregnancy.
Most of the people want to correct the unequal treatment of women in the work force and make it equal for everyone. Some of the methods, which can be used to support equality, are to introduce a federal legislation to guarantee equal pay for equal work. To also set wages according to the value of the work done by the employer. Which would be difficult to measure the value of one person’s work compared to another persons. We could also offer women better benefits and a better pension when they retire their job.
People’s attitudes towards women in the work force are slowly starting to change and more opportunities for women are being available for them. The unequal treatment of working women will take years to change and will always stay an important issue.