Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report

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Welcome to the sixth edition of Women in Canada – representing the 25th anniversary of this publication. The first edition of Women in Canada was published in 1985, the same year as the United Nations Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi. The report from the Conference noted that a 'lack of reliable data prevents the assessment of relative improvements in women's status in the various sectors', and urged '[f]urther investment in evolving adequate gender-specific data'.1 Women in Canada's scope and purpose outlined in 1985 responded to that call, and continues today: 'It is intended to aid the continuing discussion and evaluation of the changing roles and social characteristics of Canadian women as well as contribute to the development of policies concerning the status of women in Canada.'2

Understanding the role of women in Canadian society and how it has changed over time is dependent on having information that can begin to shed light on the diverse circumstances and experiences of women. Women in Canada provides an unparalleled compilation of data related to women's family status, education, employment, economic well-being, unpaid work, health, and more. Published by Statistics Canada, this edition of Women in Canada provides users with a valuable source of gender-disaggregated data that help explore issues and trends related to gender equality.

Women in Canada allows readers to better understand the experience of women compared to that of men. Recognizing that women are not a homogenous group and that experiences differ not only across gender but also within gender groups, Women in Canada includes chapters on immigrant women, women in a visible minority, Aboriginal women, senior women, and women with participation and activity limitations.

Status of Women Canada and collaborating federal organization's financial support of the publication Women in Canada helps fulfill the Government of Canada's commitment to encourage Gender-Based Analysis (GBA). Gender-Based Analysis is the process of examining a policy, program or initiative for its impacts on a variety of different groups of women and men. It provides a snapshot in time, capturing the realities of diverse women and men affected by a particular issue. Implementing GBA depends on the capacity of all users, including policy and decision-makers to have a variety of data and information sources. Women in Canada provides some of this information, and can be complemented with other sources of information and analysis. While Women in Canada presents a comprehensive statistical portrait of Canadian women, gaps in information and analysis may still exist. Readers of Women in Canada looking for further information should contact Status of Women Canada or Statistics Canada directly. Specific questions related to the data or analysis contained in this report should be directed to Statistics Canada by calling 1 800 263-1136 or by consulting the Statistics Canada website.


  1. United Nations (1986) Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, New York: United Nations. Retrieved on September 1, 2010.
  2. Statistics Canada (1985) Women in Canada: a Statistical Report, Ottawa: Statistics Canada, p iii.
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