Women clean; men fix the car: Gender equality in Canada is moving at a snail's pace: research

Is a woman's place in Canada still in the kitchen so men can spend time fixing the car?

According to a new study by Plan International Canada, many women feel both sexes are still being pigeonholed into traditional gender roles.

The research shows 81 per cent of women still feel pressured to be in charge of cooking, cleaning and caring for children.

About the same amount of women state men are expected to fulfill traditional 'male' chores, like working on the car and doing repairs around the house.

Women are still supposed to strive to be wives and mothers (73 per cent); this, according to 63 per cent of women, to allow men to be the family's main breadwinners.

"These Canadian results amplify the fact that gender-related norms, values and stereotypes still pose potent barriers to women achieving equal power," explains Saadya Hamdani, director of gender equality at Plan International Canada. "Globally, women spend significantly more time than men – often up to 10 times as much – on unpaid care, volunteer and domestic work."

GENDER STEREOTYPES IN THE WORKPLACE

The study also finds that 70 per cent of women have experienced some form of inequality in their lifetime, either due to discrimination or gender stereotypes.

This is particularly true for younger women. Of those aged 18 to 34, 77 per cent say they have faced gender inequality, compared to 67 per cent of women aged 35 to 65.

Many young women say they have been held back due to their physical appearance, in contrast to 53 per cent of women aged 35 to 65.

"This uneven distribution of work has implications for job segregation and pay equity and it socializes the younger generation into believing gender roles are 'normal,'" Hamdani states. "This is at the heart of gender inequality; holding back women, families, communities, countries and the world."

When it comes to gender stereotypes, 87 per cent of women believe men who express their opinions at work are viewed as confident leaders – compared to women, whom 82 per cent say are perceived as aggressive or overbearing.

On the contrary, 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).

Seventy-eight per cent of women surveyed say there is an unrealistic expectation for them to be thin and graceful, while 67 per cent say men need to be tall and muscular.

The study was conducted from Feb. 12 to 13 in French and English. It surveyed 1,452 women between the ages of 18 and 65 who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The poll is accurate to within +/- 2.6% percentage points, 19 times out of 20.