Educated aboriginal women have better employment outcomes than non-aboriginal women: study

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Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Aboriginal women with a university degree have slightly better employment rates and make more money than non-aboriginal women with the same level of education, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday.

First Nations, Metis and Inuit women with a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or university degree were employed 81.8 per cent compared to 79.5 per cent of their non-aboriginal counterparts in 2011, according to the analysis of the 2011 National Household Survey and other sources. The findings include on-reserve First Nations populations and Inuit populations living in the Canadian Arctic.

Aboriginal women with post-secondary education earned more than three times as much ($49,947) as aboriginal women with no post-secondary qualifications ($15,208). And they made slightly more than non-aboriginal women ($47,742) with the same level of education.

“These results highlight the importance of education, especially as aboriginal women are generally less likely than non-aboriginal women to have a postsecondary qualification,” said the report by the federal data collection and analysis agency. “In general, Aboriginal women are also less likely to be employed than their non-Aboriginal counterparts.”

Only 51 per cent of aboriginal women aged 25 to 64 have a post-secondary diploma or degree compared to 65 per cent for non-aboriginal women.

Metis women are the most likely to have a postsecondary education (57 per cent), while only 47 per cent of First Nations women and 36 per cent of Inuit women complete postsecondary education.

However, the report also showed that more younger aboriginal women were getting an education compared to older aboriginal women.

Just over 35 per cent of aboriginal women without a postsecondary diploma have a job compared to over 46 per cent of non-aboriginal women.

Aboriginal women account for about four per cent of the female population in Canada.

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Levon Sevunts

Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International

Born and raised in Armenia, Levon started his journalistic career in 1990, covering wars and civil strife in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1992, after the government in Armenia shut down the TV program he was working for, Levon immigrated to Canada. He learned English and eventually went back to journalism, working first in print and then in broadcasting. Levon’s journalistic assignments have taken him from the High Arctic to Sahara and the killing fields of Darfur, from the streets of Montreal to the snow-capped mountaintops of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. He says, “But best of all, I’ve been privileged to tell the stories of hundreds of people who’ve generously opened up their homes, refugee tents and their hearts to me.”

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