HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  March 8, 2013

State of the Working Woman

Jenny Ahn: Unionized women workers do better than unorganized; All working women need access to universal daycare
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

Supporting TRNN is a little like having my own television station. I can watch whatever I find interesting and at any time. I also enjoy the privilege of publishing my opinions on Disqus. - Gregory
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

As many of our viewers know, March is Women's History Month. And here on The Real News, we'll be bringing you a series of interviews about women's issues. And here to discuss one women's issue, specifically women's workers rights, is Jenny Ahn.

Jenny Ahn is the Canadian Auto Workers union director of membership mobilization and political action. Her work focuses on promoting anti-racism, inclusion, and diversity. And she joins us now from Toronto.

Thank you for joining us, Jenny.


DESVARIEUX: So, Jenny, I want to talk about specifically how women are doing today compared to the past, specifically women in the workplace. What is the situation like for women in the workplace?

AHN: Well, unfortunately, today the situation hasn't changed that drastically over the many, many decades for women inside the workplace. We do still see women who are not getting paid for work of equal value as their male counterparts. So we're still fighting in a number of different areas for pay equity. But we're also seeing that women not only are getting paid less for work of equal value, but just generally women still make less wages than men overall.

So what we are seeing, though: that women are smarter. They are joining unions more often than men. And when women do join a union and have a union representing them in their workplace, they make $7 to $14 more an hour. So that is some positive news.

DESVARIEUX: So, currently what is the gap in income between men and women in Canada?

AHN: It could be as high as a 30 percent difference between--the gap between men and women.

DESVARIEUX: Okay, 30 percent. And here in the United States, of course, there is the glass ceiling, and there is this wage gap as well. And for women it's very difficult for them often to even find work outside of the home when they have a child to take care of at home. And President Obama, in his State of the Union address, brought this up and said preschool education should be a requirement and every American child should have the right to have preschool education. In Canada are you seeing a shift in more affordable childcare being available for families?

AHN: Unfortunately, it sounds like the situation is not much different here in Canada. We're still fighting and struggling to have more affordable, more accessible, and publicly run childcare, to have childcare that is licensed and that is regulated so that our kids are safe when the parents are working.

There's also about two-thirds of women who have kids under the age of three years old that are working outside of the home. And it's still difficult to get good quality childcare for our kids. So we're still in need of making some vast improvements to our own childcare system here in Canada.

DESVARIEUX: What sort of initiatives are you guys pushing for over there in Canada?

AHN: Well, we have a national campaign to talk to not only our members but also to the broader public to push for a national childcare program. So we're asking our federal government that we need to ensure that our kids are looked after right from the get-go, that we need to have a national childcare program so that parents can afford and to have available to them childcare to have their kids looked after. So we have a national campaign on that front. Again, it's not just in the workplace where we talk to our own union members, but it's also engaging and educating the broader public around the importance of that.

DESVARIEUX: And do you find that it's difficult for some of your female members to leave the home because they find that if they're at a job that pays, let's say, minimum wage, that because childcare is so expensive, it doesn't really make sense for them to leave the home and earn a wage that can just barely take care of childcare for their children?

AHN: Well, that is often the case. But, unfortunately, what happens more often is that people will try to find any sort of childcare. So it may not be regulated or licensed--we don't really know the background or the qualifications of those childcare providers. But parents will find any sort of childcare, because it's very difficult unless that one parent who's bringing in [incompr.] income makes a very good wage, that often it requires both parents to be working. And sometimes, you know, these parents are working more than one job to make ends meet.

And this is where we're saying we've got to do better. In 2013 we've got to do better for workers overall, and not just women workers, but workers right across, to make a better wage, to have more full-time, permanent employment, that have benefits and have a good pension plan, all these sorts of things that can provide a much more stable family life when the parents are not as stressed out.

So what we're seeing, though, is instead of saying, geez, you know, childcare's not affordable or we can't find it so one of us should stay home, unfortunately, they don't have that option. They need to have both incomes coming in. So this is where you'll see parents just finding childcare wherever they can. And this is also, unfortunately, where we have heard of accidents and different [incompr.] terrible things that are happening.

And so this is also why we're pushing to have a national childcare program and pushing our federal government to do that so it's uniform, it's available right across the country. And that way, our kids will be better looked after.

DESVARIEUX: Thank you for joining us, Jenny.

AHN: Thank you very much. And happy International Women's Day.

DESVARIEUX: Same to you, Jenny.

And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network, where you'll find more interviews like this on women's issues.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Trump Boasts of Killer Arms Sales in Meeting with Saudi Dictator, Using Cartoonish Charts
15 Years of Mass Destruction in Iraq
Mercer's Cambridge Analytica 'Utterly Sleazy'
Duterte's Bloody War on Philippines' Leftists
Venezuelan Government's Arrest of Former Interior Minister: A Sign of Fracture?
Meet The Man Behind Cambridge Analytica, Who Made Trump President
Will Congress Affirm its Constitutional Power to Stop the War in Yemen?
A Rare Glimpse Inside a Police Body-Camera Review Unit
In Afrin the Turks are Looting and Pillaging with Gunfire
Protester Arrested At State House: Gov. Hogan Would Not Drink Water Contaminated by Fracking
'Samantha Em-Powers Genocide in Yemen': Students Protest US Role in Saudi War
After a Shooting at His School, a Maryland Teacher Speaks Out
European Left Divided Over Brexit
Marilyn Mosby: From Freddie Gray to GTTF
Trump and the Rise of the European Right, with Reps of UK Labour Party, De Linke, Podemos, and Syriza
Petroleum Executives Visit Trump, Increasing Offshore Oil Drilling
EPA Sued for Removing Independent Scientists from its Advisory Board
Inequality in America: A National Town Hall
Laura Flanders Show: Women's History Makes The Future
Corbyn Allies in Labour Attacked For Supporting Palestinian Struggle
Paul Jay: Threats facing Humanity, Russiagate & the Role of Independent Media
Kochs and ALEC Behind Criminalization of Dissent Bills in Five States
West's Anti-Russian Fervor Will Help Putin Win Election On Sunday
Stephen Hawking: Fighter for Progressive Politics
Corbyn Smeared as 'Russian Stooge' for Requesting Evidence on Poisoned Spy
Chief in Charge of Internal Affairs To Retire from Baltimore Police
Corbyn Calls for Evidence in Escalating Poison Row
Sanders Resolution Against War in Yemen Challenged by Mattis
Senate Expands 'Lobbyist Bill' to Deregulate Real Estate
Expressions of Afro-Asian Solidarity During the Cold War,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting