How good is being a woman in Kelowna?

Kelowna ranked 13th in nationwide study

When it comes to being a woman, there are worse places to find yourself than Kelowna.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ranked Canada’s 25 biggest cities based on the differences between men and women’s access to economic and personal security, education, health and positions of leadership. When all was said and done, Kelowna came out right in the middle of the pack, at 13th. Last year it ranked 17th and 13th in 2015.

“No two cities look alike. Statistics will never be a substitute for the full experience of lives lived. But as signposts they mark the spot where more attention is needed from our leaders, our policy-makers and our communities. They point the way toward progress — down paths as unique as the cities in this report,” said Kate McInturff, report author.

One of the things local leaders may want to look at is the wage gap between men and women in Kelowna.

The centre reports that both men’s and women’s earnings are below average, however, the gap in wages in Kelowna is larger than the national average, with women earning 66 per cent of what men earn.

“The wage gap has actually gotten worse over the past five years,” said McInturff.

Women are also slightly more likely to live below the low-income measure than men and women’s employment rates fall five points below those of men — both of these findings mirror that national statistics.

Around 54 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women hold full-time jobs.

Where Kelowna seems to be doing well is longevity and health. It turns out that women live to an average of 84 years in this city, which is longer than the national average and than men, who 79 years. They are also more likely to access medical services in a timely fashion, with 71 per cent of women reporting they had a Pap smear in the last three years.

Kelowna women are also, on average, more educated than their male counterparts and more likely than men to have completed high school, college or university.

“The share of women and men who hold university degrees is well below the national average, but above average when it comes to college degrees,” said McInturff.

Women are considerably more likely to have competed a college degree, with 24 per cent reporting having completed a college degree compared to 17 per cent having done so. Around 18 per cent of men have completed trades training and apprenticeship compared to nine per cent of women.

Kelowna was on par with the national average when it came to women in leadership roles. Women make up 32 per cent of elected officials in the area. Two out of five regional municipalities boast a female mayor. Women hold 34 per cent of the management jobs in the region.

When it comes to safety, the centre looked at the unfounded rate, and Kelowna fared better than the national average. An unfounded report is one where the police judge that no crime has occurred and therefore do not investigate or record the report of the assault. However, the high variability of unfounded rates from city to city suggests that some police forces are more likely than others to dismiss reports. Domestic violence is also under-recorded, with only one in five incidents reported to the police. Direct surveys of the population are the best way to estimate the actual crime rate for these offences. However, Statistics Canada only conducts a survey on violent crime once every five years. This survey does not sample a large enough segment of the population to provide

The unfounded rate for police-reported sexual assaults in Kelowna is 14 per cent, compared to 19 per cent nationally.

Canadawide, however, McInturff said things “things have taken a turn for the feminist in Canada.”

“Our prime minister is setting a feminist agenda for his government. What that means in practice, thus far, is that the government is starting more regularly to ask questions about how their policies and programs impact men and women in distinct ways,” she wrote.

The Complete Rankings:

1. Victoria

2. Gatineau

3. Hamilton

4. Kingston

5. Vancouver

6. Québec City

7. St. John’s

8. Sherbrooke

9. Halifax

10. Toronto

11. Ottawa

12. London

13. Kelowna

14. Abbotsford-Mission

15. Montréal

16. St. Catharines-Niagara

17. Winnipeg

18. Edmonton

19. Saskatoon

20. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

21. Regina

22. Calgary

23. Barrie

24. Oshawa

25. Windsor

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