To the editor:
Canada is on track to reach gender equality in approximately 164 years.
A lot of progress has been made over the years, but we still have a long way to go. There are many instances where traditional gender roles have an influence over what people end up doing with their lives and how they behave.
According to a study in Montreal, 81 per cent of women feel pressured to cook, clean and care for children. Other studies have shown that in the workplace, 87 per cent of women believe men who express their opinions at work are confident leaders.
On the other hand, 82 per cent say women are perceived as overbearing.
Men and boys are still expected to be confident and tough (83 per cent), while women and girls should be accommodating and emotional (81 per cent).
These differences have a large influence on what jobs people take, as they want to avoid negative discrimination despite the many steps forward we have taken to make more diverse job openings for both genders.
There is a relevant problem when it comes to legal issues too. The law sometimes let their personal ideas about gender roles influence their decision-making.
Studies have shown judges are just as likely as laypeople to have their opinion skewed in the final decisions of child custody and workplace discrimination cases, which affects both genders.
For example, judges give approximately half a day more to mothers on average. This is no fluke, as every country except Finland sees more time awarded to mothers.
Unfortunately, many judges believe their education makes them unable to make mistakes like that, but the legal system of many nations, including Canada, sometimes fails to account for human error.
Even outside of the workplace, there are other examples of where traditional gender roles have left their mark. For example, the market for children’s toys portray traditional gender roles integrated into play. Many ads that included construction or racing toys have been primarily played with by boys.
On the other hand, cooking equipment and miniature houses have been predominantly played with by girls.
Today, things have begun to change. We are seeing a lot more of boys and girls in the same ads. Canada is moving, slowly, in the correct direction.
Positive change can be made quicker if the country stands together.