As women continue to break down gender barriers in every aspect of life, feminism has started to gain more traction than ever in the modern Canadian workplace. Although, many believe that there are still battles to be won before society can definitively say that men and women have become truly equal.
Kristin Macri works in advertising; an industry popularized by the 1950’s drama Mad Men. In this show we see women presented as secretaries and mothers, and those who want to work in male dominated fields are ridiculed, unappreciated and harshly criticized by their male counterparts. Macri says her experience at the Lowe Roche advertising agency couldn’t be more different. The majority of her superiors are women, including the CEO, and she feels that she benefits from having so many strong female mentors.
Many women don’t feel quite as lucky as Macri though; Amanda Mulligan, a server at Shark Club says she often feels over sexualized and disrespected by her male customers. She
attributes this to her required uniform: short skirts, heels and a full face of makeup. Blue Jays dancer Madie Hayhoe says she also feels stigmatized. “People do walk by us and catcall us, or call us vulgar things,” she says, even though her uniform is specifically designed to be family friendly.
The issue of equal pay is another obstacle. According to Statistics Canada, women aged 25-34 only receive 78.3 cents to each dollar earned by their male counterparts. Even as Canada is slowly shrinks its income gap, from 35 per cent in 1980 to 19 per cent in 2010, Canada’s Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development believes that pay inequality is not benefiting the country, saying that cutting the workplace gender gap by half could considerably lift GDP growth rates. Also saying, “Gender inequality means not only forgoing the important contributions that women make to the economy, but also wasting years of investment in educating girls and young women."
Kristin Macri feels feminism is well represented in her workplace.