'Discouraging': Survey shows 1 in 3 Canadian women have considered quitting their jobs

More evidence that women are bearing the brunt of the shrinking economy came to light Thursday, as a new survey showed that Canadian women are far more likely than Canadian men to have thought about quitting their jobs so their children can attend school virtually.

According to the survey, which was released Thursday and is based on a representative sample of 1,002 adult Canadians, 33 per cent of Canadian women have considered leaving their jobs for that reason, versus 19 per cent of Canadian men.

Women also reported being more likely than men to have thought about leaving their jobs to devote more time to helping their children with school work, to find it stressful to juggle work and family activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to have turned down job offers or promotions because of the amount of family time they would take up.

The survey took place online between Aug. 21 and Aug. 24 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

It was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of The Prosperity Project, a not-for-profit organization that aims to blunt the impact the pandemic is having on Canadian women.

Its findings build on the idea that Canada is in the midst of a "she-cession," with women disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn of 2020 in a manner that has never been experienced before.

One-sixth of all jobs held by women disappeared in February and March, according to Statistics Canada, while the Royal Bank of Canada found that nearly half of all women in Canada experienced a decline in the number of hours they worked during the early days of the pandemic.

“These results are not entirely surprising, but they are discouraging,” Pamela Jeffery, founder of The Prosperity Project, said in a press release.

“Even in 2020, they show an ongoing systemic bias, reinforcing the need for a dramatic change in thinking so that women can fully contribute to Canada’s economic future.”

Many organizations have argued that child-care access needs to be vastly improved in order for most women to be able to return to work, with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce among the latest voices to join that chorus.

The Pollara survey also showed that a gender gap remains when it comes to household chores. It found that women are far more likely than men to report doing most or all of their family's cooking, grocery shopping, other shopping, cleaning, child care and homework helping. Men are far more likely to report doing the lion's share of yardwork and transportation duties, while the two genders are evenly split on household budgeting.

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