KAMLOOPS – City council has one of the higher percentages of women on council (56%) in the Interior and while the women do not outnumber the men when it comes to city employees the percentage of females at city hall is still quite notable.
Over the course of the year about 1,000 bodies pass through the city doors as employees, accounting for 713 full-time equivalent positions. City staff calculates all the hours combined between part-time, full-time, casual and seasonal staff to come to this number, which is then used for budgeting.
When the city surveyed the number of females compared to males on the payroll last year they found about 35 per cent were women, though if you remove the predominantly male firefighters from the equation—about 100 positions—the number closes in on 40 per cent.
“I think our organization does a good job at that,” human resources manager Lori Rilkoff says of staying fair in the hiring process.
Not only are female staffers getting close to being on par with the males when it comes to the number of them, they are also carrying some of the higher level positions. Of the six senior managers, three are women-Rilkoff, Sally Edwards in finance and Tracy Kyle in public works.
The three women join more than 20 others in making more than $75,000 annually, according to the 2012 statement of financial information. Women account for about 25 per cent of those on the list when the fire department is removed—all but two are male.
This may sound low but in reality Kamloops is doing better than many other Interior communities, including Penticton, Vernon, Kelowna and Prince George, though some communities, such as Abbotsford, are putting up some slightly higher numbers.
Penticton and Vernon are both hovering just a couple per cent lower than Kamloops while Kelowna and Prince George are around 18-20 per cent women. Abbotsford boasts numbers closer to the 30 per cent range for women staffers. These numbers do not include the fire department, which is historically dominated by men.
Of the six communities Kamloops is the only one with women outnumbering the men on council as well. Women account for a third or less on most of the other councils, with Prince George and Abbotsford both only having one female council member. Only Vernon comes close to tipping the scales in favour of women, with three of seven council members part of the fairer sex.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities reports an average of 24 per cent of municipal officials are women and the goal is to reach 30 per cent by 2026.
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