Data Catalyst - InnovationInspired by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics’ look at women in science across the world, and as part of the work we’re doing in exploring the role of gender in the innovation economy, we’ve decided to do a deeper dive into some of the Canadian statistics on the gender disparity in the labour force.

Over the months of April and May, we’ll be sharing some visualizations that look at a particular slice of data around women in the labour force in Canada, and we welcome your feedback and thoughts on what kinds of stories those visualizations tell.

Share of women in the workforce

The visualizations below highlight the increasing share of women in the Canadian labour force from 1978 to 2013. Using data from Statistics Canada, we’ve taken a look at the provincial breakdown of the workforce, and the change over time.

Here are a couple of things we immediately noticed.

  • The average increase, by province, of share of women in the workforce in Canada over the past 25 years is 9.9
  • Women make up 50% or more of the workforce in only three Canadian provinces.

What does the data tell you? What actions do we need to take to address some of the issues that come from understanding the data?

All articles in this series:


Labour force refers to the labour market activity of the population 15 years of age and older, excluding institutional residents, in the week containing the 15th day of the month prior to Census Day. Respondents are classified as either employed or unemployed. The remainder of the working-age population is classified as not in the labour force.

The labour force participation rate is the total labour force expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and older. The participation rate for a particular group (for example, women 25 years of age and older) is expressed as a percentage of the population for that group.