The Gaps in the Globe's “Power Gap” Series: the sample size is too small and elite to tell a grand narrative about women at work

  • April 02, 2021
  • Paniz Khosroshahy, student (3L), University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law

Please note: this article was first published on on February 19, 2021.

By January 4, 2021, at 11:17 am the top-100 Canadian CEOs had made, on average, as much money as an average worker will make all year. Should we be concerned that not enough of these CEOs are women?

Half the women in this country earn under $30,000 a year, and a meager five per cent of them make six figures. The “Power Gap,” a new Globe and Mail series promoted as “the first of its kind and the most detailed picture available of where women stand in the Canadian workplace,” looks at the income and power disparity between this top five per cent and their male counterparts, while overlooking the reality of the vast majority of women in this country. 

In most provinces, public entities are required to disclose salary information for employees earning over $100,000, and the Globe used this publicly available information for their series. Yet this sample size is too small and elite to tell a grand narrative about women at work. Data about other income brackets or trans and racialized people may be publicly unavailable, but washing one’s hands clean by adding a caveat to that effect does not justify Power Gap’s framing: that through the investigation we can learn about women in the workforce as a whole. 

Some women, many of them racialized, are caring for these high-income women's children while they're busy breaking the glass ceiling. Income inequality has been rising in this country, and whether that wealth is held by men or women makes no difference for working women.