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There is growing evidence that women are increasing their drinking to the point of catching up with men.Diy13/AFP/Getty Images

Amy C. Willis knows what it’s like to hide a drinking problem at work.

She says it took her many years to get sober after struggling with alcohol misuse that she kept secret from her family, friends and work colleagues.

”It never even occurred to me to bring that issue to work because I had so much shame,” says Ms. Willis, a former HIV prevention researcher who now runs a sobriety coaching business in Toronto for women and the LGBTQ+ community called Hol + Well.

“I never considered the possibility of seeking any kind of support [at work] because I was far too worried about the consequences.”

While alcohol has long been a staple of workplace socializing, from after-work drinks at the local watering hole to boozy conferences and awards dinners, issues of alcohol misuse and dependence in the workplace have stayed firmly in the shadows.

In past, men have typically had higher incidences of alcohol misuse. However, there is growing evidence that women are increasing their drinking to the point of catching up with men.

Read the full article for more on the rise in women’s alcohol misuse and how employers can help.

Women Lead Here: A snapshot of executive gender diversity in corporate Canada

Report on Business Magazine’s fourth annual benchmark of gender diversity in corporate Canada celebrates 90 companies with an average of 46 per cent of women in executive roles. That’s progress. But only 6.6 per cent of Canada’s largest publicly traded companies have a woman at the top (up one measly percentage point from 2020), and at the rate we’re going, we won’t reach top-level parity for another four decades. To put it bluntly, we’re not moving nearly fast enough.

Read the full article for insights into how to fix Canada’s corporate gender diversity problem. Plus, find out which companies ranked highest when it comes to female leadership in 2023.

‘We are not the problem. Guys, you are the problem’: The battle for workplace parity

A fight for power is occurring between Suits and Skirts, according to Teresa Freeborn, who started her career at the Tsawwassen, B.C., branch of the Delta Credit Union, later landed an executive post at Central One Credit Union, and was recruited to work in the United States, where she retired in 2021 as president of Kinecta Credit Union.

“We’ve spent decades fighting for equality in the workplace, and the needle hasn’t moved in any significant way. We tried playing nice and that didn’t work; now we’re not going to be so nice any more. We are demanding what we are due and parity is long overdue,” the Vancouver native writes in the book Suits and Skirts: Game on! The battle for corporate power.

She says research shows having women in the C-suites and boardrooms increases profit. Customers also want corporations to be on the right side of issues such as gender equality. Women work hard and many have the skills for executive positions. But they are told to be satisfied with middle- and upper-middle-management positions. At best, they are treated as followers. At worse, they are treated as a problem.

Read the full article to learn how men’s advocacy can move the dial.

In case you missed it

Employers need to open their doors to people with autism spectrum disorder

Carrie Chapple is intelligent, articulate and hard-working and she has two undergraduate degrees. She also has Asperger syndrome and has struggled much of her life to find and keep suitable employment.

When Ms. Chapple finally received a diagnosis on the autism spectrum as an adult, some of her struggles began to make sense.

”I don’t read facial expressions. I also don’t always reflect what I’m feeling. Sometimes my facial expressions are not appropriate or sometimes my verbal responses are not appropriate,” says the Victoria resident.

Although Asperger syndrome is a term no longer used medically, Ms. Chapple uses it to describe her condition. It falls under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Employment rates lag significantly for people with ASD. Only 33 per cent of people aged 20 to 64 with ASD reported being employed in the most recent Canadian Survey on Disability, compared to 79 per cent of people without a disability.

Read the full article.

Do you need a career coach?

Bibigi Haile thinks every woman needs a competitive edge as they ascend the corporate ladder.

”What got you here, won’t get you there,” says Ms. Haile, a Montreal-based personal branding and communications adviser who works with women in senior management roles.”

A lot of women will keep their head down, do great work and assume recognition and promotion will follow,” she adds. “But women sometimes need someone to hold up a mirror to them and help them see all that’s possible for them to achieve.”

Ms. Haile says she helps clients take charge of their stories, overcome imposter syndrome and get noticed by the right people. She also helps them dismantle any “mental barriers” that may be preventing them from reaching their potential.

Read the full article.

Ask Women and Work

Question: I’m turning 40 in a couple of months and I’m considering a career change. I’ve always worked in corporate jobs but I’m most passionate about making art. I’ve had some success selling pieces over the years but what I really need is to do it full-time. I would like to quit my job and give myself a chance to succeed in the career I’ve always dreamed about. How do I know if it’s time to take the plunge? And is there a way to do this while retaining a backup plan and not burning all my bridges?

We asked Toronto-based career coach Laura Barker to tackle this one:

You’ve worked in corporate jobs for some time while also creating art on the side. It’s likely that you enjoy the safety and stability of a regular income. Yetit sounds like it’s not enough any more. Ask yourself whether you feel fulfilled doing corporate work, specifically, whether you feel the work brings you meaning and purpose. Chances are, it doesn’t, which is why your dream persistently calls out to you.

Let’s shift gears. You dream about making art full-time. What does art represent to you? Your answers may involve deep satisfaction in your work because you feel “passionate” about it. It’s possible your passion reveals deeper values you hold that are not getting expressed currently.

Consider how you spend your time. In an ideal world, what kinds of things would you like to do more of on a regular basis? What would you like to do less of, as a point of contrast? In what kind of environment do you want to live and work? Take a moment to really visualize it – your home, workspace, geographical location, access to people and resources that support you most.

Think of what’s important to you because your values drive your behaviours. Let’s say a steady paycheque is important to you along with expressing yourself creatively. Rank these values in importance at this point in your life. When you do this exercise of prioritizing your values, you gain clarity. With clarity, you can focus on what’s next.

Making a change starts from within not without. What you do – corporate job or artist – is an extension of who you are. That’s why knowing your values remain the key to unlocking if the time is now. Your work is identifying your values, not executing the plan. I say this because what can happen is people get stuck when they don’t fully commit to aligning who they are with what they do. So, they end up in a no-man’s land where they’re not satisfied because they’re neither in nor out.

If you decide to make art full-time, remember that you don’t have to transition to it right now. It sounds like you’ve done it as a side hustle, with some success, for years. Answer these questions:

  1. What would have to change if you saw yourself as an artist who currently works at a corporate job as you transition to making art full time?
  2. What would have to change if you quit your corporate job cold turkey?

Refer to my questions about how you’d spend your time, your environment, and most importantly, how you’d be living your values. By answering these questions, you can examine your solutions from multiple angles and then create your plan of action.

Finally, you don’t need to worry about burning bridges, which keeps you focused on the past. Instead, think about your future and how you will shine your light

Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at

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