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Measurement of gender inequality in neighbourhoods of Québec, Canada

Lum Tamambang1, Nathalie Auger123*, Ernest Lo2 and Marie-France Raynault134

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montréal, 1420 boulevard Mont-Royal, Montréal, Québec H2V 4P3, Canada

2 Institut national de santé publique du Québec, 190 boulevard Crémazie Est, Montréal, Québec H2P 1E2, Canada

3 Research Centre of the University of Montréal Hospital Centre, 3850 Rue Saint-Urbain, Montréal, Québec H2W 1T7, Canada

4 Direction Prévention et Santé Publique de l'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, 1301 Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, Québec H2C 1M3, Canada

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International Journal for Equity in Health 2011, 10:52  doi:10.1186/1475-9276-10-52

Published: 16 November 2011



Few studies have measured gender inequality at levels lower than the country. We sought to develop neighbourhood indicators of gender inequality, and assess their ability to capture variability in gender inequality across Québec, Canada.


Aggregate 2001 census data for 11,564 neighbourhoods were obtained for men and women. Twelve indicators of gender inequality representing demographic/household characteristics, education, income, work/leisure, and political participation were selected. Neighbourhood-level gender inequality scores were computed for each indicator, and examined across parts of Québec (metropolitan areas, mid-sized cities, rural areas). Monte Carlo simulations were used to assess the ability of indicators to capture heterogeneity in gender inequality across neighbourhoods.


Male-dominant neighbourhood-level gender inequality tended to be present for average employment income, labour force participation, employment rate, and employment in managerial positions. Female-dominant gender inequality tended to be present for divorce, single-headed households, and participation in unpaid housework, child and elderly care. Neighbourhood-level gender inequality tended to vary across metropolitan areas, mid-sized cities, and rural areas. Gender inequality scores also varied within these geographic areas. For example, there was greater income-related gender inequality in high than low income neighbourhoods. Monte Carlo simulations suggested that the variation in gender inequality across neighbourhoods was greater than expected with chance alone.


Neighbourhood-level gender inequality tended to be present in Québec, and varied across parts of the province. Greater awareness of and research on neighbourhood-level gender inequality may be warranted to inform gender policies in Québec and other nations.

Aggregate data; Gender inequality; Population surveillance; Residence characteristics; Rurality