How the gender wage gap is reflected in the legal profession

Women from marginalized groups faced an even wider disparity, Stats Canada found in its 2016 Census. Indigenous women, on average, made 35 per cent less than non-Indigenous men, racialized women made only two-thirds what was paid to non-racialized men and newcomer women made 29 per cent less than non-newcomer men.

Robyn Doolittle’s reporting for the Globe and Mail has recently shown the legal profession is not immune. In February, Doolittle reported that female equity partners at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP made 25 per cent less than male partners, each of whom on average made $200,000 more per year.

A 2020 study of women in-house lawyers, by the Counsel Network and the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, showed they earn $19,000 less than their male counterparts. The survey of 1,141 in-house counsel in Canada revealed the average base salary for men was $177,000 and $158,000 for women. The study also showed the disparity had not improved since 2018, the last time the survey had been conducted.

Jodie Primeau, of Deep River, Ont.’s Primeau Law Professional Corporation, says the gender wage gap in the legal profession is reflected in three areas.

Gender wage segregation is the first. Jobs predominantly filled by women – “pink-collared jobs” – tend to be assistants, receptionists and clerks. People are socialized to believe these roles are appropriate for women, says Primeau.

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