Nationwide study examines high unemployment rate of South Asian women towards helping to find solutions

October 29, 2021

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

Research indicates that South Asian women have one of the highest unemployment rates (and the highest in July 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic) and a new study is trying to determine why.

The nation-wide study conducted by CulturaliQ in partnership with Pink Attitude Evolution, a nonprofit empowering women of South Asian heritage, is looking to identify the barriers that prevent South Asian women from fully realizing their potential in the Canadian workforce.

“We were disheartened to learn that South Asian women, despite being the most educated, stand amongst the highest unemployed of any other group in Canada. This study was very important for us to understand and get a baseline for barriers that prevent South Asian women from achieving their full potential,” says Ruby Dhillon, CEO and founder of Pink Attitude Evolution.

The study seeks to build an action plan based on its results that can help South Asian women can contribute value to the Canadian economy if given the same support and opportunities as the general population.

“Our goal is to find new opportunities for South Asian women in the Canadian workforce and guide employers to make better informed decisions,” says Dhillon.

The South Asian community is the single largest visible minority group in Canada comprising of 26 per cent of the total visible minority population. According to the latest Canadian Census, there are almost two million South Asians in Canada.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many part-time and minimum wage jobs, primarily in the food sector, were eliminated. Women, in particular South Asian women, held a majority of these jobs, resulting in a large increase in unemployment.

“South Asian women have the potential to contribute to Canadian STEM and non-STEM business opportunities. With Canada beginning to take actions to unfold its economic recovery plan, South Asian women have the potential to contribute to Canada’s growing economy. We believe this study will support Pink Attitude Evolution in creating systemic change for South Asian women and other New Canadians and are proud to be associated with the initiative”, says John Stevenson, founding partner of CulturaliQ.

The study is supported by organizations across Canada including TD, Deloitte, NATIONAL Public Relations, Sephora, City of Brampton, APMA, EY, Scotiabank and IGM Financial and is expected to be released in October, as part of Women’s History Month.

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