1.5 million Canadian women are living in poverty. Some women are more likely to be in poverty than others. For instance, 21% of single mothers and 35% of women belonging to a minority group live in poverty. Aboriginal women are also significantly impacted by poverty, as 36% of aboriginal women are low income (Sekharan, Homeless Hub, 2015)

It is important to address women’s poverty in Canada because of its close relationship to child poverty. A child in poverty is often an indicator that the mother is as well, and vice-versa. Poverty also endangers women and children of staying in abusive and dangerous environments (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2017).

Women are impacted by poverty for two primary reasons. First, women are found to be doing more unpaid work such as housework and child care. Second, women also face lower income opportunities as higher salary jobs may require more sacrifice in ones personal and home life. While 70% of women in two parent households are working, studies indicate that women are more likely to sacrifice advancing their career to find an appropriate work-life balance. This impacts their likelihood of accessing higher salary jobs that require more work and sacrifice. While this allows them to spend more time at home doing unpaid work, it limits their income and can increase their risk of being in poverty (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2017). Studies suggest that educating women in entrepreneurship and starting small business can help them find a satisfactory living wage and maintain a work-life balance (Lamman & MacIntyre, 2016).


Featured Resources

Fleshing Out the Racial Undertones of Poverty for Canadian Women and their Families (Journal Article)

Indigenous Gendered Experiences of Work in an Oil-Dependant, Rural Alberta Community (Parkland Institute)

Equal Worth: Designing Effective Pay Equity Laws for Alberta (Parkland Institute)

The Alberta Disadvantage: Gender, Taxation and Income Inequality - Parkland Institute

Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report The Economic Well-Being of Women in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2018)

Canadian Women's Foundation: Fact Sheet Women and Poverty In Canada

Ideas presented here do not reflect the COH and the Homeless Hub.