Knowledge Center

Statistical Overview of Women in the Workplace

Women at the Top

  • Women’s representation in Fortune 500 leadership positions has stagnated in recent years.



  • Women’s representation in Financial Post 500 leadership positions has slowly increased in recent years.


The Canadian Labour Force

In 2011:

  • Women ages 15 and older made up 47.3% of the labour force.1
    • 62.3% of all women 16 years and over were in the labor force compared to 71.5% of all men. 2
    • 56.2% of visible minority women aged 15 and over reported being part of the paid workforce in the 2006 Census.3
  • In January 2012, women comprised 35.4% of all management positions and 22.9% of all senior management positions.4
    • In 2006, visible minority women made up 7% of management positions.5
  • Employment rates for mothers with children under the age of 6 have more than doubled since 1976, from 31.5% to 68.1% in 2007.6
    • In 2007, 79.5% of mothers with school age children worked outside the home--approaching the employment rate for women with no children at home (80.9%).7

The U.S. Labor Force

  • In 2012:
    • Women made up 46.9% of the labor force.8
    • 57.7% of all women 16 years and over were in the labor force, compared to 70.2% of all men. 9
  • Women comprised 51.5% of management, professional and related positions.10
  • In 2011:
    • 55.8% of all mothers with children under the age of 1 were in the labor force11
    • The labor force participation rate of parents with children under the age of 18 was 70.6% for mothers and 93.5% for fathers.12

Women in Law

  • In the U.S., for the 2009-2010 academic year, women made up 47.2% of law school students.13
  • In 2011, women were 31.9% of all lawyers.14


  • In Canada in 2009, women were 37.4% of all lawyers for whom gender data was recorded. 15

Women and MBAs

  • Women in the U.S. earned 36.8% of MBAs in 2010-2011.16
  • Women in Canada earned 34.5% of MBA in 2010-2011.17

* The terminology was changed from "corporate officer" to "senior officer" in 2010 in an attempt to standardize across company type and provide Catalyst with more robust data. Catalyst has not found a statistically discernable difference in the overall officer population using these two terms.


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Quick Take: Statistical Overview of Women in the Workplace. New York: Catalyst, March 3, 2014.