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December 10, 2021

Why did women weather the recession better than men?

One of the more intriguing ways to break down boring financial news is to play up a dichotomy.

The one that gives readers the most to work with? Men vs. women.

Usually – or make that unfortunately – women seem to get the short end of the stick; nowhere is this more prevalent than in regard to workplace salaries. Yet, God bless ‘em, women seem to be on top right now, no innuendo intended.

Because, according to Stats Canada, women fared much better during the recession than men did.

1282335_silhouettes_4 By figures in the census agency’s new study, Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report, the employment rate for women in 2009 – the height of the downturn – was 58.3 per cent, down only one per cent from a year earlier.

The employment rate for men, by contrast, dipped to 65.2 per cent in 2009. That was down by 2.9 per cent from 2008 – meaning, in theory, men lost nearly three times as many jobs as women did during the recession.

Certainly, there are theories as to why this is. The most prevalent, of course, is that women tend to find employ in the hard-hit manufacturing and labour sectors much less often than men.

But look closer and there are more encouraging reasons why chicks slugged the downturn out better than dudes.

According to the report, more and more women are finding work in higher-paid, white-collar professions, which were generally safer from layoffs while the economy went down like Charles and Camilla on the streets of London. (Topical!)

Notes the report, about 51 per cent of workers in Canada’s financial industry were women last year (up from 49 per cent in 1999), and more than 55 per cent of Canada’s doctors, dentists and health-related workers were women in 2009 (way up from 47 per cent ten years ago.)

Still, despite these numbers, everyone has their opinion as to why women weathered the storm better than men, as you can see by this feature in the Star.

What do you think? Why do you figure women handled the recession better than their male counterparts?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...