Frances Woolley in the Globe & Mail Economy Lab says that the next phase of Ontario’s recovery from the 2008 recession will disproportionally fall on women:
Men were hit hard by the 2008-9 economic downturn, with losses of construction jobs (98 per cent male), transport jobs (90 per cent male), and manufacturing jobs (70 per cent male). Male unemployment rose so quickly that people began to talk about a “he-cession.”
Three years on, a tenuous “he-covery” seems to be under way – male unemployment rates fell last year, and the percentage of men with jobs rose.
Now it’s the ladies’ turn. Ontario’s Drummond Report calls for deep cuts to financial, administrative and secretarial jobs throughout the public service. Strictly speaking, the report recommends cutting costs; automating, streamlining and consolidating the delivery of services. Yet administrative costs equal administrative jobs — jobs that are, 8 times out of 10, held by women.
The bulk of Ontario government spending goes to MUSH — Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals. Overall spending cannot be reduced substantially without making cuts in these areas. There are about 280,000 teachers and professors in Ontario, and 65 per cent of them are female. The Drummond report recommends larger class sizes for elementary and secondary school teachers, and “flexible” teaching loads for university professors. Yet more students per teacher mean fewer teaching jobs. Just as a downturn in the construction sector leads to male unemployment, a downturn in the teaching sector leads to female unemployment.