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The Parent Potential: Parental and Family Leaves in Canada’s Finance Industry, 2021

November 15, 2021  


Gender inequalities in unpaid care work are one of the many contributing factors to gender inequality in the workplace. The unequal and gendered distribution of domestic and childcare work leads to many negative career implications for women, from bias, stigmatization and negative perceptions, to barriers to networking and career advancement opportunities. This often results in slower career progression, off-ramping, decreased earnings and mental/physical health challenges. It’s time to evolve cultural norms around who is responsible for and capable of caregiving, and give all parents equal access to participating in this important societal activity.

Previous WCM research found a disheartening 82% of women and 90% of junior-mid level women reported believing that maternity leave will hurt their career, and more than half of women reported that their maternity leave actually did negatively impact their careers.* These negative perceptions of maternity leave and the lived negative experiences are creating unnecessary complications, frustrations and dissatisfaction among women.

Destigmatizing parental leaves and equalizing childcare responsibilities are necessary prerequisites for gender equality and equity in the workplace. For women to participate equally at work, we need to make it possible for men to participate equally at home. This means enacting the right corporate policies that give all parents—regardless of gender—the opportunity to participate equally in their children’s care and to balance their professional and personal lives.

Strong parental policies paired with a supportive culture can go a long way in improving a company’s retention, employee loyalty and achieving diversity goals. The benefits of these outcomes are far-reaching. While WCM acknowledges there is a cost associated with these policies, they are small compared to the cost of a leaky and homogenous talent pipeline. Ultimately, raising children is incredibly valuable work for our society and economy, and all working parents deserve to have the support they need to advance and succeed in their careers and in their parenting journey.

Read the rest of WCM’s report HERE.

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