It’s official: Toronto is the world’s best city for women in business. In a recent study, Bloomberg assessed many cities worldwide on their safety, maternity, growth, equality, and mobility. The study chose and ranked cities based on their global business, the attractiveness of that city, and how it presents its business sectors and overall economy on a global scale to international talent. While Canadians have always known that Toronto’s business drive sector is something special, and a cut above many other country’s commerce centers, now it is a fact, and the city’s effort at inclusion is being recognized on the world stage.
The five pillars that the Bloomberg study uses to rate inclusivity and accessibility for women in each city are all important factors for a working woman in modern life. Maternity is the most obvious of these factors, as women looking to start a family want to know that they’ll have support from the government and employers, and Canadian mothers can receive 15 weeks of maternity leave plus up to an additional 61 weeks of parental leave, depending on their circumstances.
Safety is another important factor for many women, but Canada has one of the lowest global crime rates in the country. Growth, equality, and mobility are key, particularly in a business context, and while Toronto may not score as highly on mobility thanks to its old transport systems, women feel that they are decently represented in leadership roles and have near-equal opportunities with men when it comes to the job market.
Additionally, there is plenty of room for career women to grow in Toronto, both for those already working to grow within their careers and for the workforce itself to grow through immigration. It is no secret that Canada, and specifically Toronto, is attractive for immigrants from all over the globe.
While most principal applicant immigrants are men within the professional, economically affluent classes, the number of women is rising, and women within the workforce often join as a result of immigrating with a principal applicant spouse or as part of a family. Immigrant women have proven to be hugely successful at economic integration, which extends into social integration and the whole family to feel settled in their new Canadian lives.
However, just because Toronto is considered the best for women to develop in business, it does not mean that the city doesn’t have areas it needs to improve on, particularly when it comes to equality and diversity. Businesses still have a long way to go with inclusivity, not just with women and immigrant women from all countries, but also with immigrants from all countries and of all ethnicities, those who have a disability, Indigenous Canadian peoples, those from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, and younger people in all these demographics.
Ultimately, the Bloomberg report is a victorious battle for Toronto, and Canada in general, but that must not blind us from the fact that the city’s war with inequality and exclusion is far from over.