By Jody MacPherson
Fort McMurray Express, August 20, 1986
“I’m not a pushy broad, I’m just ahead of my time.”
That’s how Irene Pfeiffer sees herself.
Pfeiffer is the corporate director of human resources for Suncor Inc. in Toronto. She spoke to Fort McMurray’s Business and Professional Women’s Club last Wednesday on “employment equity.”
Employment equity is a fancy term for equal pay for work of equal value, says Pfeiffer.
“Equal employment opportunity got us in the door,” she says. “Now we need employment equity.”
In her position with Suncor, Pfeiffer has to implement a program of employment equity.
“The difficulty lies in deciding which jobs are equal to one another,” says Pfeiffer.
Suncor is compelled to implement a program under the Federal Contractors Compliance Act. The legislation says that companies doing business with the government must be committed to employment equity.
Bill C-62 declares that government and crown corporations must have employment equity.
“If you can think of a system of deciding how to do this, please tell us,” she says. “It’s not easy thing to do,” she says.
Pfeiffer says she’s convinced that women could get a lot more done if they were able to share bathrooms with men.
A lot is decided in the men’s bathroom,” she says. “And we’re missing it.”
Pfeiffer says employment equity is no different than any other issue which requires social change. She says that women control their own destiny and slowly change will come. She says there is no sense rushing things.
She says there’s other things that can be done besides having the government change the laws.
“If you don’t think you’re being paid fairly, go and talk to your boss,” she says.
She says for most companies the burning issues is simply surviving from one day to the next. They are not ready to tackle issues such as employment equity.
“It’s a process of evolution and although it may not feel like it, we have come a long way,” says Pfeiffer.