Impact of COVID has hit women especially hard: CME
By Don Horne
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) believes that it is imperative that Canada increases the presence of women in the manufacturing sector to foster an inclusive economic recovery, given that women have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.
To counter the pandemic’s impact on women’s employment, CME is calling for extra funding for its Women in Manufacturing (WIM) program, tax incentives to help employers to create childcare options, and additional money destined to help retrain women for jobs in manufacturing.
“Attracting more women into manufacturing professions is not only critical to help companies grow and replace their aging workforce, but it also provides women with careers that are high value, high tech, highly skilled and high paying”, said Rhonda Barnet, immediate past chair of CME and president & COO of AVIT Manufacturing.
Women in manufacturing hit hard by COVID-19
Like other sectors, manufacturing experienced a decline in women’s workforce participation rates due to the pandemic. However, unlike for men, those numbers have not yet been recouped.
In fact, as of January 2021, female employment in Canadian manufacturing was 3.5 per cent below its February 2020 pre-pandemic level, while male employment rose to 0.8 per cent above this threshold. This shows us that COVID-19 caused unprecedented layoffs which are still felt by women today as we remain 18,200 jobs behind pre-pandemic female employment levels.
To recoup these losses, we need to double down on our efforts, states the CME.
CME has worked hand in glove with governments across Canada on its WIM initiative, as it seeks to increase female participation rates in the sector’s workforce.
“CME supports an economic recovery that places more emphasis on women. To do this, measures must be put in place that promote the attraction and retention of women, particularly in the manufacturing sector. We must ensure that women are included at all levels in our organizations. Together, We Can Do It!” said Dennis Darby, president and CEO of CME.
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