A new report, released on International Women's Day, highlights a number of challenges faced by women in this province. The Manitoba Women's Advisory Council Status of Women in Manitoba publication used data from Statistics Canada and elsewhere to look at a number of women’s issues.

Violence against women

The report noted that “Manitoba women consistently report some of the highest rates of violence against women among Canadian provinces,” and that violence comes in many forms.

It said the province had the second highest rate for police-reported intimate partner violence in Canada, and 81 per cent of the 5,639 victims who reported partner violence to police in Manitoba in 2015 were women.

The report also stated women in Manitoba are more likely to be victims of reported sexual violence than in any other province. It said in 2016, the rate of police-reported sexual assault in the province was nearly twice the national rate.

“What’s most unsettling, is that we know roughly only about five per cent actually go to police to report,” said Minister responsible for Status of Women, Rochelle Squires.

Squires said the province is looking at bringing in a third-party reporting system, to allow women to report even if they aren’t ready or willing to speak with law enforcement.

“It might be a little bit more friendly environment for her to go forward, tell her story, have the data collected, and not necessarily shared right away with police, or maybe not ever shared with police, specific to her situation,” Squires said, adding that police could use the data to watch for trends or patterns in sexual violence, or access an initial report should a victim wish to go through a justice process at a different time.

Higher education, lower pay

The report found Manitoba women are more likely to have a high school diploma than men, and are more likely to be employed part time, but less likely to be employed full time.

The report also found women earn a considerably lower median income than men. In 2016, the median income for Manitoba women sat at $44,818 compared with $54,580 for men, a difference of $9,762.

The report says Manitoba women are underrepresented in science and technology sectors, making up 23.5 per cent of the work force in those fields in 2016.

Women are also underrepresented as leaders in politics, law enforcement, the military and the private sector. For example, in 2016, women represented only 15.2 per cent of police officers in the provinces.

You can read the full report on the Province of Manitoba’s website.

With files from CTV Winnipeg