Thursday, November 15

For Many Women, Alberta's Boom a Bust

Driven by the tar sands, Alberta's white-hot economy continues to make headlines. But the gendered repercussions of the province's boom are often neglected, understated, or altogether denied.

In the case of the tar sands, women have often been discouraged from pursuing the very resources and skills necessary to capitalize on the booming industry.

This is due in part to many female workers' experiences with sexual harassment, gender discrimination and unequal wages. Sixteen years ago, Mobil Oil's first female landman, Delorie Walsh, submitted a claim of gender discrimination, a poisoned work environment and unequal pay. She was finally compensated in October 2007.

Those benefiting most from the oil and gas workforce are male. For example, current male/female ratios are 79 to 21 per cent for geoscientists and 96 to 4 per cent for trades.

Women tend to be more susceptible to losing their homes due to abuse or conflict with a spouse or caretaker upon whom they are financially dependent. Because women are more likely to have children to look after, and are less likely to feel safe on the street or in shelters where men are also present, many return to abusive relationships when there is no alternative shelter available.

FULL STORY: The Dominion

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