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Aboriginal Women in the Canadian Economy – The Links Between Education, Employment and Income

by NationTalk on March 12, 2012413 Views

March 2012

Introduction

Aboriginal women in Canada face many challenges. Compared to non-Aboriginal women and to their male counterparts, Aboriginal women have lower incomes. They also work in lower level occupational categories. Research demonstrates a clear link between education and income: the greater the educational attainment, the higher the resulting income.

The Strategic Research Directorate, in partnership with the Gender Issues Directorate, commissioned a study on Aboriginal women in Canada using the 2006 Census of Population. The goal of this Strategic Research Brief is to describe the relationship that education has to employment and income for Aboriginal women in Canada.Main Findings

Key Findings:

• Aboriginal women make less money, work in lower-level jobs, are less likely to find employment than non-Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men.
• Aboriginal women on reserve are particularly marginalized.
• Seventy-one percent of Aboriginal women who have post-secondary education are employed.

Labour Force Participation and Employment

In 2006, Aboriginal women participated in the Canadian labour force at a rate (59%) similar to that of non-Aboriginal women (62%). Participation rates for Métis (67%), Inuit (59%) and Registered Indian women living off reserve (58%) were close to or above the rate for non-Aboriginal women. The sole exception was Registered Indian women living on reserve, whose participation in the labour force was lower (48%). Like the non-Aboriginal population, Aboriginal women participate in the labour force at a lower rate than Aboriginal men (67%). Participants in the labour force include those unemployed and actively seeking work.

In 2006, just over half (51%) of Aboriginal women in Canada were employed. This is slightly lower than the employment rate of non-Aboriginal women (58%). However, employment rates were 20 points lower for Registered Indian women living on reserve (38%). In contrast, the employment rate for Métis women (61%) was higher than that of non-Aboriginal women. The employment rate for Inuit women (49%) and Registered Indian women living off reserve (50%) was similar to that of Aboriginal women as a whole (Figure 1). The employment rate for all groups of Aboriginal women was lower than Aboriginal males.

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