London ranked third best place to be a woman in Canada

In the recent study authored by senior researcher Kate McInturff at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, London was rated the third best place to be a woman in Canada, following Victoria as first and Kingston as second.

The report is meant to show the gaps in men and women’s access to economic security, personal security, education, health and positions of leadership.

Rather than focusing on statistics alone, it measured the gap between men and women in a given community in the attempt to analyze inequalities based on gender.

While London has among the highest levels of poverty among women of the 25 cities studied (20 per cent) it was given a rating of second overall in the area of economic security because it is the only city in which the male poverty rate exceeds women at 22 per cent.

Whether this accurately depicts London as being a better place to live based upon the difference between male and female poverty rates alone, is highly debatable. When it came to the analysis of education, it was determined that women in London are more likely than men to have completed high school, college or university; however, no statistic saying by how much was mentioned. Men, as noted in the study, were twice as likely to have completed trades training and apprenticeships; 10 per cent of men compared to five per cent of women.

Leadership was measured mainly based upon the number of women that make up the city council; in London women are outnumbered two to one. However, London is one of the better cities in regards to professional leadership with 38 per cent of senior managers in the city being women.

In the area of health, it was mentioned that the life expectancy in women and men in London is continuous with the Canadian average, 83 years for women, 79 years for men.

Personal security information had a larger margin for error as Statistics Canada only conducts a survey on violent crime once every five years, but the document looked at incidents of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

Samantha Brennan, professor in the department of women’s studies and feminist research at Western University, said that overall, while the study did cover a good list of topics, she would have liked to see more intersectional analysis.

“How safe London is depends a lot on where you live and that depends on income. How much street harassment you endure might be affected by sexual orientation and by race,” Brennan said.

The report admits to areas of inaccuracy, including data that was not available on the experiences of those who identify as transgender.

“Most annual surveys of poverty levels and employment do not break down results by race, immigration status, disability, sexual identity or aboriginal status,” said the document.

“The report admits to its shortcomings. In some cases there just isn’t good data,” Brennan said.

Decka Oudon, a third year student in the business administration- marketing program, said that she thinks London is a great city for women to live in.

“There’re a lot of friendly people… it’s a really great place for everybody. School is really good too,” Oudon said.

She explains that she sees London generally as a safe place for women to live.

“I never felt in danger here. I always felt like people are willing to help you if you are in trouble so definitely a great place overall,” Oudon said.

Farah Almasshavani, a student in the general arts and science program at Fanshawe explained that she was pleased with her experience with the health care system in regards to how she and her mom were treated.

“They [health care professionals] found out [the health care issue], told her [mother] and listened. They got her the medicine she needed and now she’s good, and I was happy for that,” Amasshavani said.

Brennan said women’s’ rights and gender equality in Canada still has “a ways to go”.

“We [women] earn less than men. Look at the percent of CEOs who are female. Look at the number of politicians who are women. And then there are the issues of domestic violence and spousal abuse,” Brennan said.

The study said that gaps between men and women inequality are closing.

“These are achievements of which we can be proud. These are achievements we can learn from. They point to our capacity to make better lives for ourselves, our children and our neighbors. Narrowing the gender gap will deliver dividends for all Canadians,” said the document.