We employ the term gender equality throughout the Blueprint and Maturity Model instead of terms like gender equity or gender parity because it best represents the concept we are trying to capture. The term gender equality also aligns with Sustainable Development Goal #5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and it is used frequently by the Government of Canada and the Department for Women and Gender Equality. It should be noted, however, that equity and parity are both relevant components of gender equality.

Most of the research and data currently available on workplace gender equality in Canada highlights the difficulties women face when compared to men’s career progression, opportunities, and experiences. While our primary focus is on removing engrained barriers for women in the workplace, advancing gender equality in the private sector includes significant elements specifically geared towards men, while also acknowledging that gender identity and expression is not limited to the binary polarization of women and men. We are encouraged by steps being taken by the Government of Canada to allow for a diverse official expression of gender identity and look forward to the ramifications this movement will have within the private sector and for the future of workplace gender equality.1

  • Diversity: Individual differences based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic background, ability, culture, beliefs, marital status, education, life experiences, and other identity makers.
  • Equal Pay for Equal Work: The notion that all genders should receive equal compensation for substantially the same job (e.g. two chefs or two machine operators on the same line).
  • Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value (Pay Equity): The notion that comparable jobs in male-dominated and female-dominated industries receive substantially the same compensation (e.g. typical female jobs such as librarian or childcare worker can be compared to typical male jobs such as truck driver or firefighter).
  • Gender: Refers to roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that society constructs or may consider appropriate for men and women.  It can result in bias, stereotyping, and limitations on what is expected, possible, and valued in people in the workplace based on their gender.
  • Gender Analysis:  An approach for considering gender issues in all aspects of workplace policy and program development. The purpose of a workplace gender analysis is to assess the impacts of policies and programs on different genders while also ensuring that their different roles, needs, and participation are taken into account.  Also referred to as gender-based analysis.
  • Gender Audit: A gender audit is a process used to assess the integration of gender equality into all aspects of an organization.
  • Gender-Based Violence: Gender-based violence is violence committed against someone based on their gender, gender identity, or expression. It can be physical, verbal, sexual, or psychological. Sexual- and gender-based harassment are forms of gender-based violence.
  • Gender Bias: Conscious or unconscious attitudes about gender that can negatively influence perception and treatment of those belonging to a specific group. Oftentimes bias is rooted in the notion that there are fundamental differences among genders that can be used to justify prejudice or discrimination.
  • Gender-Disaggregated Data: Data that is organized by gender identity, such as men, women, and a range of gender identities within the spectrum.
  • Gender Equality: The principle of equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for people of all gender identities and expressions. Gender should not prevent anyone from pursuing or accessing these rights, responsibilities, and opportunities.
  • Gender Equality Champion: Individuals who actively and visibly prioritize, speak out, and act in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment within an organization.
  • Gender Equality Indicators: Gauges that can be used to measure and evaluate gender equality status or progress over time. Common indicators include the wage gap, figures related to representation, retention and promotion rates, etc.
  • Gender Equality Strategy: A plan of action to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment within, or as a complementary component to an organization’s business strategy. A gender equality strategy should include a commitment to gender equality from leadership, specific initiatives and short- and long-term goals, and measures to ensure accountability.
  • Gender Expression: How a person publicly expresses or presents their gender through actions, behaviour, and appearance. A person’s gender expression may or may not be aligned with their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
  • Gender Identity: Refers toa person’s deeply felt sense and experience of gender.  A person’s gender identity may or may not be aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth.  Employees may undergo transitions in the workplace to align their gender identity with their outward appearance.
  • Gender-Responsive: Being aware of the differences and inequalities between different genders and taking active measures to reduce those inequalities and address their different needs.”
  • Gender-Sensitive: Being aware of the differences and inequalities between different genders.
  • Gender-Sensitive Data: Data that takes into account the gender dimension of participants or subjects. The consideration that all genders have different experiences, understandings, and needs can lead to more contextualized and less biased data.
  • Gender Stereotypes or Norms: Generalizations, attitudes, or customs related to typically male or female gender roles that can impede progress towards equality and be used to defend gender-based discrimination (e.g. women are non-confrontational and not suited for leadership roles, while men are independent and incapable of nurturing babies/young children).
  • Gender Targets: Measurable numerical goals, usually related to gender representation, that an organization seeks to reach within a specific period of time.
  • Gender Quotas: Strictly observed numerical goals related to gender representation, which are usually issued by policymakers to ensure organizations meet predetermined standards.
  • Inclusion: Values and behaviours that enable organizations to embrace all employees’ backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, which in turn increases their abilities, innovation, creativity, and contributions. Inclusion embeds gender equality and other diversity practices in the workplace by helping employees to feel valued, respected, empowered, and part of the organization.
  • Intersectionality: A theory first coined by Black American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw. The term intersectionality defines the notion that social identities, including race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, biological sex, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, ability, marital status, migration status, and beliefs overlap and intersect in dynamic ways that shape each individual and their experiences.
  • LGBTQ2+: An acronym standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and two-spirit.  There are different acronyms used by various communities; the plus is used as a term of inclusion to acknowledge the diverse ways that people may identify. Internationally, the acronym LGBTI is often used.
  • Mentorship: A relationship between a mentor – usually more experienced and senior – and a mentee –usually more junior – in which the mentor provides reactive career advice, guidance, and feedback to help a mentee improve performance.
  • Sex: Refers to the biological classifications of people as males, females, or intersex, usually assigned at birth.  A person’s sex may or may not be aligned with their gender identity.  An employee’s sex is personal, confidential information.
  • Sexual Orientation: A person’s attraction (emotional, affectional, and sexual) to other people.  An important concept in the workplace; people of all sexual orientations should be protected against discrimination and harassment in their workplace.
  • Sponsorship: A relationship between a sponsor – typically a senior leader or someone who has influence and decision-making capabilities – and a protégé in which the sponsor advocates, protects, and fights for their protégé’s career advancement and access to critical opportunities for development.
  • UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality): Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. SDG 5 has 9 targets and 14 indicators that support the realization of this goal.

Note on Sources
: Definitions have been informed by the following sources: UN Women, UN Global Compact, UNESCO, Government of Ontario, Ontario Pay Equity Commission, Canada’s Department of Women and Gender Equality, Ontario Human Rights Commission, the 519 Glossary of Terms, Interaction, Government of Canada, Canadian Women’s Foundation, WHO and UN Free and Equal Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency, European Institute for Gender Equality, Catalyst, McKinsey & Company, Global Diversity Practice, and Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy.