Edmonton Isn't A Bad Place For Women
“Edmonton Second-Worst City in Canada to Be a Woman.” This was the headline gracing many newspapers across Alberta in mid-July. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-wing “think tank research institute” concluded this after what they called an “extensive study” on “the gender gap in Canada’s 25 biggest cities”. This “study”goes on to explain that women in Edmonton earn 59 cents to every dollar a man makes and that “men are three times more likely than women to have completed trades training and apprenticeships”. Later in the “study”, the CCPA lists such ridiculous statistics such as the number of women on city council, the rate of how many people would say that their health is “very good or excellent”, and reported levels of stress. The final portion of the “study”, on security, the CCPA reports that police recorded “769 incidents of sexual and domestic violence perpetrated against women in 2013 in Edmonton.” These vague, and sometimes pointless statistics simply don’t prove anything, and some claims, such as the claim about a wage gap, are simply misleading numbers.
Let’s start with the good old strawman argument on the “wage gap”. How many times must the wage gap myth be disproven before left wing social justice warriors accept the fact that they’re completely and utterly wrong? It has long been claimed by feminists and SJW’s that “women make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes”. The CCPA declared that number to be 59 cents in Edmonton. To the disappointment of the proponents of these numbers, this is not because of discrimination. In fact, it is illegal to pay one employee less than another based on gender alone.
Let’s be frank here. If women in Edmonton were truly only paid 59% of a man’s salary, businesses would not hire any men. They would instead opt to employ only women. At a 41% cost savings just for employing women, a businessperson would have to be a fool to hire men. Secondly, this wage gap is almost entirely based on personal choice. In 2009, the US Department of Labor conducted a study to determine the cause of the “wage gap”. It found that men are more likely to choose to work overtime and work more hours on average per day (8.14 hours/day for men vs. 7.75 hours/day for women). The fact that men average 5% more hours per day than women makes up for a quarter of the “wage gap” on its own. The US Department of Labor study found that men are more likely to take jobs with a higher level of risk for a higher salary, while women were more likely to take lower-risk, more kid-friendly jobs at a lower salary. Finally, career choices amount to the rest of the number required to close the so-called wage gap. Men dominate many of the highest paying career fields, such as engineering, medical, financial and construction, while women dominate fields such as education, nursing, childcare and administration. These are life choices made by individuals, not factors of discrimination. The reason that three times more men in Edmonton have completed apprenticeships? The majority of women simply have no interest in working in the trades. The reasoning for the difference between the usual claim of “77 cents” and the CCPA claim of “59 cents” in Edmonton is the simple fact that Edmonton is a blue collar city that specializes in the resource industry. Here in Alberta, many men choose to leave home for 10-24 days at a time to work in the oil and gas sector in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and other parts of Northern Alberta. Women are more likely to stay home for work and raise the children. This isn’t a bad thing, and it isn’t discrimination in any form. These are personal decisions that families make.
Moving on, we observe the many ridiculous and irrelevant statistics that the CCPA attempts to use as justification to trash the City of Edmonton. Bev Esslinger is the only woman on city council, but she is far from being the only one who ran for city council in 2013. Karen Leibovici (a long-time Edmonton city councilor and now federal Liberal Party candidate) ran for mayor and finished second behind Don Iveson with 19.4% of the vote. While incumbents typically win in municipal elections, all incumbent women made the decision to not run for re-election. Women ran in wards 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11. That’s seven wards out of twelve. Women were defeated by incumbents(or former councilors making a return to politics, in the case of Mike Nickel) in three of those wards. Women won one, and finished in the top three of six of those wards. At the federal level, Edmonton is represented by two women, one of which is the current Minister of Health, Edmonton – Spruce Grove MP Rona Ambrose. Provincially, Edmonton is represented by seven women, including the Premier, Edmonton – Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley, the Minister of Health, Edmonton – GlenoraMLA Sarah Hoffman, and the Minister of Labour, Edmonton –Riverview MLA Lori Sigurdson. Seeing all of the above, it is clear that Edmonton is far from being a bad city for women in politics.
The statistic regarding feeling “very good or excellent” about one’s health comes down to the usual traits of men and women as separate genders. Simply put, the genders are not the same. Biological makeup causes men and women’s brains to work differently, and thus the two genders process certain information in very different ways. Men traditionally are more carefree about their health, and prefer to hide their feelings on things that may cause them to appear less than capable. Even men who do not feel particularly happy with their health will claim to feel “very good or excellent” about it. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to stress over their health, and report it as being poor despite being in good health. Further on stress, studies have shown that the biological and hormonal make-up of women makes them twice as likely as men to experience stress and depression. These are not Edmonton issues. These are scientific issues.
One of the clearest biases shown in this so-called “study” is seen in the statistics listed for physical and sexual abuse experienced by women. The “study” makes the claim that 90% and 70% of all incidents of sexual and domestic violence respectively go unreported. These are unsubstantiated claims that are impossible to prove. Furthermore, when citing the “769 incidents of sexual and domestic violence perpetrated against women”, the study entirely ignores the number of men who have been victims of these very same forms of violence. A 2010 study conducted by the US Center for Disease Control and Department of Justice, concluded that more men than women are victims of intimate partner physical violence, while 40% of severe physical violence is directed at men. Similarly, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that 1 in 6 men hadexperienced abusive sexual experiences before even reaching adulthood. Without reporting the number of men experiencing these same things, these statistics only provide further doubt to the validity of the CCPA’s claims.
Ultimately, Edmonton is a great city for women to live in. With one of the highest average family income levels, the second lowest rate of poverty (provincially), and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country, Edmonton is a great city for anybody to live in. More women than men in Edmonton have attended and graduated from post-secondary school, and that spells out great continuing prosperity for women in the city. All-in-all, the CCPA is dead wrong when they claim that Edmonton is the “second worst city in Canada for women”. This Capital Region author would personally say that Edmonton is one of the best places in Canada for women, and I don’t need fudged numbers, myths and misleading statistics to prove it. Come on up to Edmonton and experience the high quality of life for yourself!