ALBERTA

Edmonton And Calgary Ranked Among Worst Cities To Be A Woman

07/15/2015 04:08 EDT | Updated 07/15/2015 04:59 EDT

If you're a woman looking to place roots in a new city for a job, education or healthcare, a new report suggests steering far away from Alberta.

A study done by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has ranked the province's two largest cities — Calgary and Edmonton — in the bottom three in the country when comparing gender parity across 25 major metropolitan areas.

Perhaps more embarrassing, however, is that the rankings have not changed much since 2014, when the same study ranked the two cities in the bottom four.

The study uses Statistics Canada data to compare men and women in five areas: economic security, education, health, leadership and personal security.

The CCPA, which describes itself as a non-partisan research institute concerned with social, economic and environmental justice issues, titled the study "The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada 2015: The Gender Gap in Canada's 25 Biggest Cities."

best and worst for women

"This was a way to draw attention to the gender gap," said study author Kate McInturff, who based her research on Statistics Canada survey data.

"There are solutions out there. We could really improve women's lives across the country."

In Alberta, the largest gap exists in the difference in employment levels between men and women, as well as an income gap between the sexes.

See the list of the best and worst places for women in 2015, starting from worst. Story continues below:

Canadian Cities For Women 2015

In Calgary, women earn 65 cents for every dollar men make, and in Edmonton woman make 59 cents on the male dollar.

"We tend to think of Alberta as the 'have' province," Kate McInturff told Global News. "But what I found with that region in particular is they’ve seen a lot of growth in construction, and obviously in mining, oil and gas. But those industries are as much as 83-85 per cent male employees.

"And what you haven’t seen in that region is an equal level of growth in health, education and social services."

Additionally, the report found that women in Calgary are more likely to report high levels of stress than men, and that instances of sexual assault and partner violence reported to police in Edmonton are higher than the national average.

Calgary councillor Druh Farrell said she found the results disappointing, but unsurprising. She said Alberta's dependence on the male-dominated oil industry may explain why Calgary and Edmonton both ranked so poorly.

As one of only two female city councillors, Farrell also said the lack of gender parity within municipal leadership could be a strong influence in the report's findings.

"Calgary, in my experience, is moving in the wrong direction," Farrell said. "We need to ask ourselves how we can do better."

For the record, Victoria, B.C. was named the best place to be a woman in Canada, according to the rankings, followed by Gatineau, Que., and Quebec City.

The lowest ranked spot on the list, and the only area to fall lower than Calgary and Edmonton, was Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo.

With files from the Canadian Press.