The success of women in politics signals that gender discrimination is still a problem

Women now rule over almost 9 out of every ten Canadians!

Well, at least in politics. Over the weekend Ms. Wynne won the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party and became premier of the province. Six of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, representing about 88% of the population and including five provinces that collectively form a significant part of the national economy, now have women as their premiers.

Does this firm foothold on Canada’s political landscape mean that the women’s movement has come of age, and that the idea of gender discrimination in the workplace can be put aside? Ironically, it probably means just the opposite. Having politics transformed by women certainly illustrates that some of feminism’s rhetoric is tired and old. The broader lesson isn’t that women get paid less than men, after all Ontario’s new premier will have a salary that is the same as her predecessor. And frankly, overt wage discrimination isn’t the issue in the broader private sector either.

Rather it all has to do with having what it takes to qualify for the job. If women are increasing succeeding in the public sector, we might reasonably take that to be a signal that the most talented women in our society are bumping up against glass ceilings in the private sector.

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