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Hearing from women in business

Compared to the limitations imposed on women in the past, the situation has improved, but the data show that women remain underrepresented in leadership roles

By ATB Economics 15 July 2020 1 min read

The full and equal participation of women in the business world has been hampered by a range of factors including sexist attitudes, outright discrimination and sexual harassment.

Compared to the limitations imposed on women in the past, the situation has improved, but the data show that women remain underrepresented in leadership roles. For example, only 18 per cent of corporate directors in Canada were women in 2017.

We don’t know what the ratio would be if the remaining barriers to the participation of women in business were removed. Would it be 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men? Or would it be 70 per cent women and 30 per cent men? There are many possible outcomes, but it’s a pretty good bet that more women would be sitting around the country’s boardroom tables.

Similarly, the portion of small and medium Alberta businesses owned entirely by men in 2017 was 43 per cent compared to 12 per cent for women. So while there are many successful women businesses owners in Alberta, the numbers suggest that there could be a lot more.

As a McKinsey Global Institute report points out, “accelerating progress toward gender equality is not only a moral and social imperative, it would also deliver a growth dividend for Canada.” According to the report, “greater efforts to harness the power of women in the economy could boost Canada’s annual GDP by $150 billion in 2026.”

How, then, do we keep moving forward when it comes to the future of women in business? The place to start is, of course, by hearing from women themselves.

This is the focus of the inaugural series of a new podcast hosted by ATB’s Chief Economist Todd Hirsch in which he interviews three Alberta women who have achieved success in the construction, banking and energy sectors.

The podcast is called The Future Of and you can subscribe to it on your favourite podcasting app.

Check out the new ATB Financial podcast called The Future Of

Check out the new ATB Financial podcast hosted by Todd Hirsch called The Future Of


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