Transcript: Robyn Doolittle: Why Can't Women Make it to the C-Suite? | Feb 03, 2021

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Why can't women make it to the c-suite? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says IT'S BEEN SEVERAL DECADES SINCE THE GAP BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN'S WAGES HIT THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC RADAR IN CANADA. AND YET, IT PERSISTS NONETHELESS. WHAT'S MORE, ACCORDING TO A NEW SERIES PUBLISHED IN THE GLOBE AND MAIL, THAT'S NOT THE ONLY GLARING DISPARITY BETWEEN THE GENDERS, AT WORK. THERE IS ALSO A STRIKING POWER GAP THAT LEAVES WOMEN BEHIND BOTH IN CLOUT AND MONEY. ROBYN DOOLITTLE IS AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER AT THE GLOBE, WHO LED THE TEAM DIGGING INTO THIS, AND SHE JOINS US NOW FROM THE WEST END OF THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL TO EXPLAIN.

Robyn is in her thirties, with long straight black hair. She's wearing a black blazer and shirt.

Steve continues ROBYN, IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. HOW ARE YOU MANAGING THESE DAYS?

Robyn says WE'RE SURVIVING OVER HERE.

Steve says GLAD TO HEAR IT. YOU AND YOUR TEAM HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO BASICALLY BITE INTO SUBJECT AT ANY TIME THAT YOU WANT, SO WHY THIS TOPIC AND WHY NOW?

The caption changes to "Robyn Doolittle. The Globe and Mail."
The caption changes to "Wages versus influence."

Robyn says IT SOUNDS NUTS, BUT WE STARTED THIS BACK IN 2018. I DON'T TRY TO SET OUT TO DO THESE MASSIVE YEAR-LONG PROJECTS, BUT IT DOES JUST SEEM SOMETHING THAT OUR TEAM GRAVITATES TOWARDS. IT WAS EARLY 2018. IT WAS JUST IN THE POST METOO ERA WAS THE CONVERSATION WAS MOVING BEYOND SEXUAL VIOLENCE TO A DISCUSSION ABOUT BROADER INEQUITY. AT THE TIME I WAS ABOUT TO TAKE MATERNITY LEAVE SO I WAS THINKING A LOT ABOUT MOTHERHOOD AND HOW BABIES WERE GOING TO IMPACT MY CAREER AND ALSO OTHER WOMEN'S CAREERS. AND AT THE SAME TIME THERE WAS A SCANDAL IN THE UNITED KINGDOM BECAUSE BBC JOURNALISTS LEARNED THROUGH SOME DISCLOSURE LAWS THAT HAD RECENTLY PASSED IN THAT COUNTRY THAT THEY WERE BEING DRAMATICALLY UNDERPAID COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COLLEAGUES. AND WE GOT TO TALKING AND THOUGHT, WOULDN'T THIS BE INTERESTING IF WE COULD TRY TO DIG INTO THIS IN CANADA? THIS ISSUE OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. AND INITIALLY IT WAS VERY FOCUSED ON WAGES. I THINK YOU PROBABLY HEARD THE STATISTIC THAT WOMEN MAKE 87 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR THAT A MAN MAKES. BUT THAT'S THE OVERALL HOURLY AVERAGE OF ALL WOMEN COMPARED TO ALL MEN. AND I THINK WHAT I WANTED TO KNOW AND WHAT MY COLLEAGUE WANTED TO KNOW WAS: ARE MEN AND WOMEN IN THE EXACT SAME JOB MAKING THE SAME MONEY? LIKE, IS THAT ACTUALLY... LIKE, DOES THAT PAY GAP EXIST? AND THAT'S WHERE THE PROJECT STARTED. AND IT WENT MUCH FURTHER THAN THAT.

Steve says IT SURE DID. HERE'S HOW YOU DESCRIBE IT IN THE PAGES OF THE GLOBE AND MAIL. HERE WE GO, SHELDON.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "What is the power gap?" The quote reads "When people talk about the glass ceiling, it usually refers to women breaking through to the C-suite or president's office. But The Globe's analysis has found that women seem to be topping out as mid-level managers. In truth, the ceiling metaphor isn't a great one, because the numbers don't show a hard barrier women can't cross; it's more of a leaky pipeline. In many workplaces -especially universities- the leak visibly accelerates a few rungs up from the bottom. What is clear is that by the highest salary band, women are dramatically outnumbered."
Quoted from Robyn Doolittle and Chen Wang. The Globe and Mail. January 21, 2021.

Steve says WHAT DOES THIS MID-LEVEL MANAGEMENT SITUATION LOOK LIKE IN PRACTICAL TERMS? LIKE, WHERE ARE WOMEN ACTUALLY GETTING STUCK HERE?

The caption changes to "Robyn Doolittle, @RobynDoolittle."

Robyn says SO THIS IS I THINK THE BIG TAKE-AWAY FROM OUR INVESTIGATION. AS I SAID, WE WERE VERY NARROWLY FOCUSED ON WAGES TO START. BUT WHEN WE STARTED GETTING THE DATA BACK, WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT WAGES WERE A PROBLEM, BUT THE BIGGER ISSUE WAS JUST THE LACK OF WOMEN. THERE WERE SO MANY MORE MEN BY ALMOST EVERY MEASURE, AND ONE OF THE WAYS THAT WE LOOKED AT THIS ISSUE WAS WE DIVIDED UP THE HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS IN OUR DATASET INTO SALARY BANDS TO SEE THE DISTRIBUTION, THE GENDER DIVIDE AT DIFFERENT SALARY LEVELS. AND WHAT WAS JUST CLEAR AS DAY IS THAT THERE WERE LOTS OF WOMEN IN THE LOWER SALARY BANDS, BUT AT THE VERY TOP, THERE WERE VERY FEW WOMEN. AND THAT GAP STARTED TO ACCELERATE ABOUT HALFWAY TO THE TOP. SO WHAT WAS REALLY INTERESTING IS THIS IDEA OF THE GLASS CEILING, LIKE WHAT THAT PARAGRAPH SAID, I THINK WE SO OFTEN THINK ABOUT THE GLASS CEILING AS BEING THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE. BUT WOMEN ARE HITTING THAT GLASS CEILING AS MID-LEVEL MANAGERS. YOU CAN SEE THEIR NUMBERS JUST START TO SHARPLY DECLINE. AND IT ISN'T, YOU KNOW, AN ACTUAL JUST LIKE LEVEL THAT THEY DON'T PASS. IT IS SLOW. BUT WHAT'S CLEAR THAT BY THE END, THEY'RE GONE.

Steve says DO YOU KNOW WHY IT HAPPENS?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Robyn says WELL, THIS IS THE SUBJECT OF RECENT STORIES AND WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE SUBJECT OF THE REST OF OUR SERIES OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR. I GUESS THERE'S TWO THINGS THAT WE REALLY HIGHLIGHTED SO FAR. ONE IS, THERE'S A LARGE BODY OF RESEARCH THAT LOOKS AT THE CULTURAL, SOCIOLOGICAL BARRIERS THAT WOMEN ENCOUNTER. THIS IS THE STUFF THAT YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD ABOUT. YOU KNOW, THERE'S... WOMEN ARE PENALIZED FOR EXHIBITING TRAITS THAT ARE REVERED IN MEN, TRAITS THAT HAPPEN TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH LEADERSHIP. THINGS LIKE AMBITION, CONFIDENCE. WOMEN PAY MORE OF A PRICE FOR HAVING CHILDREN THAN MEN DO. WOMEN ARE PENALIZED FOR SUCCESS. THEY'RE VIEWED MORE NEGATIVELY. SO THERE'S ALWAYS THOSE KIND OF STEREOTYPES AND BIASES THAT ARE WORKING AGAINST WOMEN. BUT THE OTHER SIDE OF IT WAS THE SUBJECT OF A STORY THAT WE PUBLISHED LAST WEEK THAT I JUST THINK IS REALLY IMPORTANT, AND THAT IS THE LAWS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT PREVENT GENDER DISCRIMINATION HAVE BEEN ON THE BOOKS FOR DECADES. YOU COULDN'T ADD A SINGLE ONE THAT WOULD MAKE THINGS BETTER. THE EXPERTS THAT I'M TALKING TO SAY. THE PROBLEM IS THEY AREN'T BEING ENFORCED. IT'S VERY DIFFICULT IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION TO FIND ANY RECOURSE, AND THAT'S FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS THAT WE GET INTO IN THE PIECE.

Steve says OKAY. ROBYN, LET'S, IF WE CAN, SOMEWHAT BRISKLY GO THROUGH THE METHODOLOGY HERE BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WANT TO HAVE SOME SENSE OF HOW YOU COLLECTED YOUR INFORMATION AND IN FACT YOU FOCUS ONLY IN THIS SERIES SO FAR ON THE PUBLIC SECTOR AS OPPOSED TO BOTH SECTORS AS WELL. SO WHY JUST THE PUBLIC SECTOR AND NOT THE PRIVATE SECTOR? LET'S START THERE.

The caption changes to "Collecting the data."

Robyn says SO THIS FIRST LEGACY INVESTIGATION IS LAYING DOWN, YOU KNOW, A DATABASE HERE THAT WE CAN BUILD OFF OF AND EXPLORE IN FUTURE STORIES. AND AS YOU MENTIONED, THE PRIMARY DATASET FOCUSES ON THE PUBLIC SECTOR, AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS IT'S THE ONLY DETAILED WORKPLACE DATA THAT'S AVAILABLE IN CANADA. THE FIRST LEG OF THE STORY DID ALSO LOOK AT TSX COMPANIES, BUT I CAN SET THAT ASIDE FOR NOW BECAUSE THE PRIMARY ONE IS THE PUBLIC SECTOR. WE COLLECTED... YOU PROBABLY HEARD OF THE SUNSHINE LIST. WE COLLECTED THE SUNSHINE LIST EQUIVALENTS IN EVERY PROVINCE THAT HAS LEGISLATION. P.E.I., NEW BRUNSWICK, THE TERRITORIES AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DON'T. AND WE FOCUSED ON FOUR KEY AREAS, BECAUSE IT HAD THE CLEANEST DATA, IT WAS THE MOST COMPARABLE. AT THE UNIVERSITIES, LARGE CITIES, MUNICIPALITIES, THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT... SO DEPARTMENTS, MINISTRIES... AND ALSO PUBLIC AND CROWN CORPORATIONS. THESE ARE THE PLACES THAT, YOU KNOW, HANDLE YOUR REGIONAL TRANSIT, THEY DO HOUSING, THEY SELL ALCOHOL, CANNABIS. THERE'S, YOU KNOW, 80 OF THEM ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT WE COLLECTED AND THEY'RE STRUCTURED LIKE PRIVATE BUSINESSES BUT THEY'RE OWNED BY GOVERNMENT. AND WE COLLECTED ALL OF THAT INFORMATION. THERE'S RECORDS FOR NEARLY 90,000 EMPLOYEES AT 244 DIFFERENT ENTITIES AND WE TOOK ALL THE FIRST NAMES AND SUBMITTED THEM TO STATISTICS CANADA AND WE PAID STATISTICS CANADA TO GIVE US THE GENDER PROBABILITY OF A FIRST NAME. SO 90 percent OF FIRST NAMES IN CANADA ARE ASSOCIATED WITH A SPECIFIC GENDER AT LEAST 95 percent OF THE TIME. SO THAT'S HOW WE WERE ABLE TO MARRY THESE TWO DATASETS AND PINPOINT WHERE THE WOMEN WERE. NOW, ABOUT I THINK 11 percent OF THE NAMES IN OUR DATABASE DID NOT MEET THIS 95 percent THRESHOLD. SO WHAT WE DID THEN WAS WE DID A DATA SCIENCE ANALYSIS TO IDENTIFY AREAS OF VOLATILITY. AND BY THAT I MEAN, LET'S SAY THERE'S ONE ENTITY OR ONE SALARY BAND THAT HAD A LOT OF UNKNOWN NAMES, WHERE THINGS COULD SWING DEPENDING ON HOW THOSE PEOPLE LAND. WE IDENTIFIED THOSE AREAS OF VOLATILITY, AND THEN WE MANUALLY EITHER RESEARCHED OR CONTACTED MORE THAN A THOUSAND PEOPLE TO RESOLVE THOSE ISSUES.

Steve says OKAY. HERE IS... WELL, HERE'S WHAT YOU FOUND OUT, AND SHELDON, I'M GOING TO ASK YOU TO BRING THIS GRAPHIC UP NOW AT THE TOP OF THE THIRD PAGE. HERE WE GO. FOR THOSE LISTENING ON PODCAST, I'LL JUST GO INTO THIS IN SOME DETAIL BECAUSE HERE IS WHAT THE GLOBE AND MAIL FOUND.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Gender split among top leaders, Canada. Including CEOs, city managers, deputy ministers and presidents."

A chart shows four coloured bars that show the percentage of men and women in the following categories: publicly owned corporations, 71 percent men 29 percent women; municipalities, 93-7; Universities, 76-24; provincial governments, 58-42."

Steve says THE GRAPH SHOWS THE DIVIDE BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN, TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE HIGH UP THE FOOD CHAIN HERE. AT PUBLICLY OWNED CORPORATIONS MEN MAKE 71 percent TO WOMEN'S 29 percent. IN MUNICIPALITIES, AGAIN, A BIG GENDER SPLIT. 93 percent MEN AT THE TOP LEVELS, WOMEN JUST 7 percent. AT UNIVERSITIES, 76 percent OF THE TOP SPOTS ARE MALE. WOMEN JUST 24 percent. PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS, INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, A LITTLE MORE OF AN EVEN KEEL HERE. IT LOOKS 58 percent OF MEN HAVING THE TOP JOBS, 42 percent WOMEN. A LITTLE MORE EVEN THERE. ROBYN, OF COURSE, BEING JOURNALISTS, WE LIKE TO LOOK AT THE ANOMALY FIRST. SO WHY WOULD PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS BE MORE EVEN THAN EVERYBODY ELSE YOU SURVEYED?

The caption changes to "Conclusions and solutions."

Robyn says THAT WAS, I MEAN, ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS WHEN WE STARTED GETTING THE DATA BACK IS THERE WERE HUGE GAPS IN ALL THREE OF THE FOUR PILLARS, BUT PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS ACROSS THE BOARD WERE QUITE EVEN. YOU KNOW, THAT GRAPH JUST LOOKS AT THE TOP LEADERS. BUT WE ALSO LOOKED AT THE BROAD EXECUTIVE LEVEL, SO THE KEY DECISION-MAKERS, THESE ARE KIND OF LIKE THE TIER DOWN BELOW THE TOP LEADER. WE ALSO LOOKED AT SALARY BANDS AS MENTIONED. AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS WERE MORE OR LESS 50-50 EVERYWHERE, AND THE WAGE GAP WAS INCREDIBLY SMALL. LIKE, IT WAS NEARLY IDENTICAL. WE DIDN'T GET INTO... I CAN TELL YOU ANECDOTALLY WHAT I'VE HEARD ABOUT WHY. I DID INTERVIEW SOME FEMALE DEPUTY MINISTERS WHO ARE THE TOP LEADERS, AND THEY SAID THAT IN... THEY FOUND ACTUALLY IN THEIR CAREERS AS GOVERNMENT... AS PEOPLE SORT OF VIEWING GOVERNMENTS AND INSTITUTIONS MORE NEGATIVELY IN THE PAST, YOU KNOW, DECADE OR SO, THEY SAW MORE MEN LEAVING THE PUBLIC SERVICE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR. I CAN'T SAY WHETHER THAT IS WHY, BUT I THINK THAT THAT WAS A SENTIMENT THAT I HEARD AMONG SOME OF THE WOMEN, IS THAT IT SEEMED TO THEM IT WAS EASIER TO RISE AS THERE WAS LESS COMPETITION. I ALSO THINK THAT THERE IS JUST MORE SCRUTINY ON PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS. THAT'S VERY KIND OF CORE TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE AS OPPOSED TO, SAY, A CROWN CORPORATION, WHICH IS STRUCTURED LIKE A PRIVATE ENTITY AND WHICH THE PUBLIC REALLY DOESN'T PAY AS MUCH ATTENTION TO. AND THE OTHER THING IS ON THE WAGE GAP SIDE, THESE ARE JOBS WHERE DEPUTY MINISTERS ARE MAKING THE SAME AMOUNT. THERE'S NOT AS MUCH ROOM FOR KIND OF EXTRA MONEY HERE OR THERE AS THERE MIGHT BE IN OTHER TYPES OF PUBLIC ENTITIES. I WILL SAY JUST QUICKLY ON THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT SIDE, IT WAS SO EVEN AND WE WERE SO INTERESTED BY IT THAT WE DECIDED TO DRILL A LITTLE FURTHER, AND WHEN YOU BREAK THE MASSIVE PROVINCIAL WORKFORCE INTO THE MINISTRY LEVEL, THAT'S WHERE YOU SEE HUGE DIVIDES IN TERMS OF NUMBERS. THAT THE MEN ARE CONCENTRATED IN MINISTRIES THAT ARE TYPICALLY ASSOCIATED WITH MALE-DOMINATED PROFESSIONS THAT PAY MORE THAN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, SUCH AS FINANCE, ENVIRONMENT, AND ENERGY, ET CETERA.

Steve says I WONDER IF PART OF IT IS EFFORT. BECAUSE I REMEMBER EVEN AS LONG AS 25 YEARS AGO, THAT FAR BACK, MIKE HARRIS MADE IT A POINT TO HIRE THE SECRETARY TO CABINET AS A WOMAN. AND THEN ALMOST FROM THAT MOMENT FORWARD, THERE HAVE BEEN... THERE'S BEEN A REAL PUSH BY SUCCESSIVE PREMIERS TO HAVE FEMALE DEPUTY MINISTRIES AND AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. EFFORT MATTERS, OBVIOUSLY... RIGHT?

Robyn says I THINK... YEAH, I THINK THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING IS THE IDEA THAT THIS IS MUCH MORE PUBLIC, THAT YOU SEE THIS LAYER, AND I THINK YOU'VE SEEN GOVERNMENTS RESPOND TO THAT BY PUTTING WOMEN IN THESE POSITIONS. I THINK TO THAT POINT THAT YOU'VE JUST MADE, WHEN... I'VE BEEN ASKED A LOT ABOUT SOLUTIONS TO THIS PROBLEM THAT THE SERIES HAS RUN AND YOU NEED THAT EFFORT, YOU NEED TO MAKE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO DIVERSIFY YOUR STAFF, NOT JUST BY GENDER BUT ON RACE WITH LGBTQ2 PEOPLE, WITH PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES... IT DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN ON ITS OWN. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THOSE STEPS.

Steve says OKAY. I'M GOING TO ASK YOU TO HUMOUR ME NOW BECAUSE I'M GOING TO ASK A SERIES OF QUESTIONS THAT ARE GOING TO SEEM VERY BIZARRE, SO HERE GOES. YOU LOOK AT THE GENDER GAP HERE, 71-21. IT'S HUGE. THERE ARE BIG GENDER GAPS HERE. IS THIS A PROBLEM?

Robyn says YEAH, I'D SAY IT'S A PROBLEM. I THINK MAYBE WHAT YOU'RE GETTING AT IS THE IDEA OF PREFERENCE. IS IT A BAD THING IF A WOMAN WANTS TO NOT DEVOTE HERSELF ENTIRELY TO HER CAREER, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE SAY, THAT MEN FETISHIZE THEIR JOBS MORE THAN WOMEN AND IS THAT REALLY SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED IN WOMEN OR SHOULD BE IT FOR EVERYONE, INCLUDING MEN, THAT THAT'S NOT A HEALTHY WAY TO LIVE. I THINK WHAT THIS SERIES IS TRYING TO GET AT IS IF YOU WANT TO STAY AT HOME AND BE WITH YOUR CHILDREN, THAT IS AMAZING. IF YOU WANT TO TAKE A JOB THAT ALLOWS YOU MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR WORK-LIFE BALANCE, THAT'S AMAZING. IF YOU WANT TO RISE TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE IN YOUR JOB, YOU SHOULDN'T ENCOUNTER BARRIERS BECAUSE YOU'RE A WOMAN. THAT'S WHAT THIS IS GETTING AT. IS THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO RISE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO ENCOUNTER ADDITIONAL LAYERS OF BARRIERS THAT MEN DON'T.

Steve says WELL, THAT'S... YOU, OF COURSE, BRILLIANTLY ANTICIPATED WHERE MY NEXT QUESTION WAS GOING TO GO. BECAUSE I'VE HAD THIS CONVERSATION WITH LOTS OF PEOPLE IN THE PAST AND I'VE HAD PEOPLE SAY TO ME, LOOK, I'M NOT SURPRISED THAT ONLY 25 percent OF THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS ARE WOMEN. WHO THE HECK WANTS TO WORK... WHAT SANE WOMAN WANTS TO WORK 80 HOURS A WEEK, MOST OF IT FUND-RAISING, MOST OF IT DEALING WITH PROFESSORS WHO ARE ANNOYING ABOUT THIS, THAT, OR THE OTHER THING, NEVER SEEING YOUR FAMILY. ON THE ONE HAND, IT'S A GREAT JOB. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT REQUIRES HUGE SACRIFICES. MORE MEN THAN WOMEN ARE PREPARED TO MAKE THOSE SACRIFICES AND THAT'S WHAT THESE NUMBERS REFLECT. IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Robyn says I MEAN, I GUESS I WOULD PUSH BACK A LITTLE ON THE SACRIFICES FRONT BECAUSE I THINK, YOU KNOW, WHAT IS A SACRIFICE? IS WORKING AT WORK A SACRIFICE? OR IS WORKING AT HOME A SACRIFICE? I CAN SAY THAT IN MY OWN HOUSEHOLD, MY HUSBAND HAS SPLIT... WE SPLIT. I HAD MATERNITY LEAVE AND WE SPLIT THEM BOTH. IN FACT WITH MY SECOND CHILD, HE TOOK SLIGHTLY MORE TIME OFF THAN ME. I THINK IT IS WAY HARDER TO WORK IN THE HOME THAN OUT OF THE HOME. LIKE, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT AND MIND-NUMBING TO DO THAT WORK. I THINK THAT'S ONE THING. I GUESS TO YOUR POINT I GUESS I WOULD SAY, THE PROJECT IS REALLY TRYING TO PUSH PAST FOCUSING AT THE VERY TOP BECAUSE SO OFTEN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES, IT IS FOCUSED ON THE BROAD SALARY GAP, BROAD WAGE GAP NUMBER, OR, YOU KNOW, THE NUMBER OF WOMEN PRESIDENTS, THE NUMBER OF WOMEN ON CORPORATE BOARDS. WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT, YES, THERE'S A GAP AT THE TOP, BUT THERE'S ALSO A GAP ON THE WAY TO THE TOP, IN THE MIDDLE, AMONG ALL MANAGERS, DIRECTORS, SUPERVISORS, SENIOR MANAGERS, EXECUTIVE TEAMS, VICE PRESIDENTS. IT'S LIKE, SURE, MAYBE MORE MEN ARE WILLING TO WORK A MILLION HOURS A WEEK TO BE PRESIDENT. WE CAN GET INTO THE SOCIALIZATION THAT HAPPENS FROM A YOUNG AGE WITH THAT, WHETHER IT'S RIGHT OR WRONG. FORGET IT. THE POINT IS THAT WOMEN CAN'T GET PAST THESE MID-LEVEL MANAGEMENT JOBS, AND OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER, THE COMPOUNDING EFFECT OF MAKING LESS OR NOT RISING TO THE SAME LEVELS AS MEN IS HUGE AND IT PUTS WOMEN IN REALLY PRECARIOUS SITUATIONS. AND, YOU KNOW, THINK OF THE IMPACTS ON RETIREMENT. WOMEN LIVE LONGER. THERE IS MORE TO THIS THAN JUST, YOU KNOW, WOMEN AREN'T PREPARED TO WORK AS MUCH.

Steve says JUST TO BE CLEAR, IT'S NOT MY VIEW, I'M JUST CONVEYING WHAT I'M HEARING FROM OTHERS.

Robyn says YOU'RE GOING TO GET LETTERS, STEVE. YOU'RE GOING TO GET LETTERS.

Steve says THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS. THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS AND I'M TOTALLY FINE WITH IT. LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THIS AND IT MAY BE TOO SOON TO SAY BECAUSE AFTER ALL WE'VE BEEN LIVING UNDER PANDEMIC CONDITIONS FOR ALMOST A YEAR NOW. DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S CHANGED IN THIS SINCE THE PANDEMIC HIT?

Robyn says WE STARTED THIS IN 2018, AND OUR DATA IS FRONT 2017. SO THE 2017 SUNSHINE YEAR. THE MOST RECENT DATA THAT'S AVAILABLE, BY THE WAY, IS 2019. THERE IS A LAG TIME IN WHAT'S POSSIBLE HERE. AND IT TOOK US A YEAR TO COLLECT ALL THE DATA. YOU KNOW, ONTARIO BUNDLES IT UP INTO A NICE LITTLE BOW AND PUTS IT ON A WEBSITE, BUT PRETTY MUCH EVERYWHERE ELSE YOU HAVE TO GO TO INDIVIDUAL PLACES AND FOI REQUEST AND ASK FOR THE DATA, YADA YADA, TRANSCRIBE IT ALL. IT'S A LONG PROCESS. THIS IS THE MARK WE WERE AT BEFORE THE WORLD UNRAVELED. AND I THINK WHEN YOU'RE LISTENING TO ECONOMISTS, THEY'LL SAY THEY'RE VERY CONCERNED THAT THE PANDEMIC IS GOING TO UNDO THE MODEST GAINS THAT WERE MADE BEFOREHAND. SO SINCE THE PANDEMIC, AT ONE POINT WE SAW WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR FORCE HIT A THREE DECADE LOW. AS THERE'S BEEN SOME RECOVERY, WOMEN ARE REJOINING THE WORKFORCE AT A SLOWER RATE THAN MEN. I THINK THE ONE THING THAT I'M REALLY INTERESTED IN IS MOST WOMEN THAT I KNOW HAVEN'T HAD TO QUIT THEIR JOBS BUT THEY ARE STILL TAKING ON THE BRUNT OF THE UNPAID WORK AT HOME, JUST BECAUSE THAT'S HOW OUR SOCIETY IS SOCIALIZED. AND ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE A HARDER TIME GETTING PROMOTED IN FUTURE? WOMEN ALREADY HAD THIS KIND OF UNFAIR STEREOTYPE ABOUT THEM, THAT THEY AREN'T AS COMMITTED TO THEIR JOBS AS MEN. IS THIS GOING TO BE A PROBLEM? I INTERVIEWED ONE WOMAN WHO IS A SENIOR MANAGER AT A VERY LARGE BANK WHOSE BOSS ENCOURAGED HER TO TAKE AN UNPAID LEAVE. OTHERWISE, HER DISTRACTED NATURE AT WORK WAS GOING TO SHOW UP ON HER PERFORMANCE REVIEW, A PERFORMANCE REVIEW THAT'S GOING TO FOLLOW YOU AROUND WHEN YOU APPLY FOR NEW JOBS OR RAISES OR PROMOTIONS. SO THAT'S GOING TO BE SOMETHING REALLY DIFFICULT TO STUDY. BUT I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A HUGE ISSUE. AND OBVIOUSLY WOMEN ARE MORE LIKELY TO WORK IN INDUSTRIES THAT HAVE BEEN HARDER HIT, SO WE'RE LOOKING AT HOSPITALITY, WE'RE LOOKING AT FOOD, THE SERVICE INDUSTRY, CARE. THERE'S A REASON THIS HAS BEEN CALLED A SHE-CESSION.

Steve says THAT SEEMS LIKE A VERY UNFAIR THING FOR THE SENIOR MANAGER TO HAVE TOLD THE WOMAN YOU REFERENCED THERE. HOW DID SHE RESPOND TO THAT?

Robyn says SHE TOOK AN UNPAID LEAVE. YOU KNOW, SHE HAS A GREAT QUOTE IN THE STORY THAT'S BASICALLY, LIKE... THE MANAGER ALSO SAID, YOU KNOW, "CAN YOUR HUSBAND PICK UP SOME OF THE EXTRA WORK?" AND SHE SAID, "YOU KNOW, WHEN IT COMES TO DECIDING WHO IS GOING TO TAKE THE UNPAID LEAVE OR TAKE THE KID TO THE DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT OR GO TO THE RECITAL, IT'S NOT ACTUALLY A QUESTION BECAUSE MY HUSBAND MAKES 1 dollar 70 FOR EVERY 1 dollar I MAKE AND WE NEED HIS SALARY TO PAY OUR MORTGAGE." SO IT'S NOT A CHOICE. AND WHAT WAS ALSO INTERESTING IS THAT WHEN THEY FIRST GOT TOGETHER AND STARTED DATING, THEY HAD SIMILAR EDUCATION AND WORK EXPERIENCE AND WERE MAKING WITHIN 5,000 dollar WITHIN EACH OTHER. FAST FORWARD AND THAT'S THE GAP.

Steve says IN OUR REMAINING MOMENTS YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS FIXING. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO ABOUT IT?

Robyn says SO THIS IS GOING TO BE THE SUBJECT OF FUTURE STORIES, BUT I THINK THERE'S SOME BIG THINGS THAT JUMP OUT. ONE IS TRANSPARENCY. THE BIGGEST WEAPON THAT PEOPLE HAVE IN... AT LEAST IN TERMS OF SALARY IS HAVING AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEY SHOULD BE PAID. I INTERVIEWED MANY WOMEN, PARTICULARLY AT UNIVERSITIES, WHO WERE OFFERED POSITIONS AND REALIZED THEY WERE BEING OFFERED LESS MONEY THAN A MALE COLLEAGUE. WE'RE NOT SUGGESTING EVERY PRIVATE COMPANY PUBLISH A LIST OF THEIR EMPLOYEES AND THEIR SALARIES. YOU LOOK AT THE UNITED KINGDOM WHERE THERE ARE LAWS THAT COMPANIES WITH OVER 250 EMPLOYEES HAVE TO PUBLISH WAGE GAP INFORMATION AFTER DIFFERENT QUARTILES OF THE WORKFORCE. THAT'S SOMETHING TO LOOK AT. MAYBE COMPANIES CAN PROVIDE THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES WITH SALARY BANDS. PEOPLE HAVE AN IDEA WHAT COLLEAGUES ARE MAKING. BROADER TRANSPARENCY IN GENERAL. AND NOT JUST ON THE GENDER WAGE GAP BUT ON REPRESENTATION AND DIVERSITY MORE GENERALLY. WE DID FIND IN OUR STATISTICS THAT OF THE VERY FEW WOMEN WHO DO MAKE IT THROUGH, THEY'RE ALMOST ENTIRELY WHITE. SO THE SOLUTION HAS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE NOT JUST FIXING THIS ONE VERY NARROW PROBLEM. THE OTHER THING, WHICH IS THE SUBJECT OF A STORY THAT WE RAN LAST WEEK ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE LAWS ARE NOT BEING ENFORCED. SO IF YOU ARE... IF YOU ARE ENCOUNTERING GENDER DISCRIMINATION AT WORK, YOU CAN'T SUE IN A REGULAR COURTROOM. THE BODY THAT WAS SET UP TO DEAL WITH THESE COMPLAINTS IS THE HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL SYSTEM. AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL SYSTEM IS SO DRAMATICALLY UNDERFUNDED AND UNDER RESOURCED ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT IT CAN TAKE TWO TO FOUR YEARS JUST TO GET A HEARING. THAT'S ON AVERAGE. I'VE MET WITH PEOPLE WHERE IT HAS TAKEN MUCH LONGER. A VERY COMMON THING IS WOMEN ARE STILL GETTING FIRED ALL THE TIME AFTER TELLING THEIR EMPLOYERS THAT THEY'RE PREGNANT, AND YOU'D THINK THAT THAT'S OBVIOUSLY NOT HAPPENING ANYMORE BECAUSE IT'S BEEN ILLEGAL FOR DECADES. BUT IF THAT HAPPENS TO YOU, WHAT DO YOU DO? THE REWARD FOR SPEAKING UP AND BECOMING A KNOWN COMPLAINER, THERE ARE VERY FEW, RIGHT? THERE'S A HUGE RISK TO THAT. AND THE RESULT IS THAT PEOPLE ARE TAKING SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS. SO THE SAME KIND OF DEALS THAT WERE SILENCING HARVEY WEINSTEIN'S ACCUSERS FOR ENABLING HIS BEHAVIOUR WE FIND ARE BEING USED TO RESOLVE ALL MANNER OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS, ABOUT IT'S PAY DISPARITY OR PROMOTION, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, BULLYING, PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION. AND BECAUSE THESE ALMOST ALWAYS INCLUDE, IN DAs, WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THEM. THIS IS OBSCURING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEM. SO THIS IS ANOTHER TRANSPARENCY ISSUE, I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, WE ASKED ALL THE PLACES IN OUR DATASET, HOW MANY GENDER DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS HAVE YOU RECEIVED? HOW MANY DID YOU RESOLVE WITH SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS? AND ALMOST NONE AGREED TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION. I DON'T THINK, AGAIN, WE'RE LOOKING FOR PLACES TO PUBLISH SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS WITH PEOPLE, BECAUSE THAT'S OBVIOUSLY NOT GOING TO SERVE EITHER PARTY. BUT I THINK AT LEAST KNOWING THAT THEY'RE HAPPENING AND WHAT THE COMPLAINT IS, HAVING SOME AMOUNT OF TRANSPARENCY OF PROBLEMS WOULD GO A LONG WAY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Steve says WELL, ROBYN, AS ALWAYS YOU AND YOUR TEAM HAVE DONE A REALLY FABULOUS JOB ON THIS SERIES WHICH IS ALL AVAILABLE ON THE GLOBE'S WEBSITE AND WE THANK YOU FOR COMING ONTO TVO TONIGHT AND SHARING SOME OF YOUR VIEWS ABOUT IT. MUCH APPRECIATED.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Robyn says THANKS SO MUCH.

Watch: Robyn Doolittle: Why Can't Women Make it to the C-Suite?