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Vancouver ranks 5th best city for women: report

But the city's growing tech sector may not necessarily be good news for women

Iglika Ivanova is a senior economist at the Vancouver office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Jennifer Gauthier / Metro Order this photo

Iglika Ivanova is a senior economist at the Vancouver office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Vancouver jumped four spots in the rankings for best city in Canada for women this year, but one economist says it may be premature to celebrate the findings.

Lotus Land is now ranked fifth in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s annual report on The Best and Worst Places to be a Women in Canada. Researchers assessed cities based on five categories: economic security, health, education, personal security, and leadership opportunities.

Vancouver scored high on health, leadership, and personal security but has a lot of work to do when it comes to economic security and education levels. In fact, the city’s strong performance in this year’s report could simply be the result of other cities doing relatively worse, said the report’s co-author, Iglika Ivanova.

“We do see cities that used to be ahead of Vancouver dropping down quite a few places, like London, Ontario and Montreal. That could be propelling Vancouver up,” said CCPA’s senior economist.

“It actually shows that we’re not making that much progress as a country in general.”

For instance, Vancouver has a strong tech sector but that could hurt economic security for women, said Ivanova.

“In Metro Vancouver and B.C. in general, one of the other things to watch for is as there are increases in tech sector jobs, it’s important to see whether they provide opportunities for women. There are very few women in leadership in tech companies.”

But the Vancouver area does preform well when it comes to women in government positions – Delta, Surrey, and Maple Ridge all have women as mayors.

“Vancouver does really well compared to rest of Canada with women in positions of leadership. When you take all the municipalities in Metro Vancouver, 40 per cent of elected officials are women. That’s one of the highest in Canada,” said Ivanova.

Victoria, which CCPA ranked as the best Canadian city for women for the second year in a row, also has a woman as mayor.

Capital cities like Victoria tend to fare well in these rankings because public sector organizations do a better job of paying women and men equally for their work, said Ivanova. Gatineau, which ranked second, benefits from this as well, since it is located next to Ottawa.

There are also regional factors at play. For instance, cities in the prairies scored in the bottom half, likely because they are dominated by resource industries, said Ivanova.

Toronto ranked 10th in this year’s report and Windsor once again landed in last place.

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