Are Top Female Bankers role models for equality?

by Elizabeth Byce

A few female bankers have broken the glass ceiling. They are now being paid millions of dollars a year. Is this a gain for women? Is it a triumph of feminism?

To be sure, the rise of the women’s liberation movement put pressure on the patriarchal capitalist rulers. They dusted off some seats at the corporate board table for women – women who are willing to play by the rules of elitism and exploitation.

As a result, Janice Fukakusa, former chief financial officer of the Royal Bank of Canada, enjoyed a salary of $4.67 million in fiscal 2016, down from $4.96 million for 2014. Jennifer Tory, also of Royal Bank, got $4.29 million in 2016; Colleen M. Johnston of the Toronto-Dominion Bank received $3.1 million; and Diane Giard of the National Bank of Canada made $2.84 million.

Nonetheless, there are still no female Chief Executive Officers at Canada’s largest banks. And the highest paid females still fall short of the highest paid CEOs: Royal Bank’s David M cKay at $11.5 million; Bank of Montreal’s William Downe at $10.6 million; and Scotiabank’s Brian Porter at $10.1 million.

But women are still making progress, right?

No, not where it matters to most women, those whose labour is paid, or not paid at all.
On average, women are paid 13 per cent less than men in Canada. In fact, the gap would be bigger if male workers’ wages had not stagnated, or fallen over the past two decades.
27 per cent of employed women work fewer than 30 hours per week, more than double the 12 per cent of men who work part-time. Seven out of 10 part-time workers are female.

Low paid women increasingly hold more than one job to survive. 56 per cent of multiple job holders are women.

Female post-secondary students are a majority of those who bear onerous student debt after leaving university and college.

Deep inequality is rooted in the capitalist system. It can be overcome only by ridding the world of that outmoded system, with all its oppressive and destructive tendencies. Bourgeois feminism won’t accomplish that. Only socialist feminism, based on the political self-activity of working women and men, has that as its aim.