During the past two decades, the gap in average hourly wages between men and women has narrowed steadily, according to a report by Statistics Canada. In 1988, women earned 75.7 cents in wages for every $1 earned by men. By, 2008, they were earning 83.3 cents on the dollar.
The wage gap converged in all age groups during this period, although older workers experienced the largest change. The gap among workers age 25 to 29 narrowed by 5.6 percentage points, while among older workers age 50 to 54, it converged by 16.2 percentage points.
A key factor in the convergence was that the growth in relative wages of women outpaced the gains of men.
On average, real wages for women increased by 11.6 per cent between 1988 and 2008. While growth occurred in all age and wage groups, the most dramatic improvement was among women age 45 to 49 with an increase of 17.8 per cent and those at the higher end of the wage distribution with an icnrease of 16 per cent.
The situation among men was quite different. Overall, the real wages of men edged up by 1.3 per cent between 1988 and 2008. However, changes were not consistent across age and wage groups. On average, men age 35 and over and those at the lower end of the wage distribution saw their real wages decline between 1988 and 2008.
This suggests that the changing composition of the labour force and changes in how the labour market compensates workers played a role in reducing the pay gap between men and women, according to Statistics Canada.