Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 190

190 Arctic Yearbook 2014 on extended work schedules face heightened time binds, with the result that they may shift to parttime paid work or unpaid work (ibid.; O’Shaughnessy & Krogman 2011). In major resource extraction regions, these effects can be systemic, producing overall reductions in women’s paid work and educational engagement. At the same time, women’s unemployment can become long term when governments dependent on resource royalties or profits cut spending on job training and care services during production downturns. As early as 2000, women in Canada’s West, once the leaders in education and labour force participation rates, faced record high levels of unemployment in what was admittedly a ‘red hot’ employment market for skilled resource personnel. Consequently, Western women set new post-WWII records for low levels of postsecondary education and rising rates of early marriage, numbers of children, and economic dependency (Roy 2006). Immigrant women had even lower paid work rates than other women in the region. Statistics Canada related these changes directly to the prominence of resource development in Western Canada. Incomes, Social Risks, and Government Services Knowing the increased challenges of northern and Arctic conditions, some circumpolar governments engage in long-term planning for balanced stable economic development, with attendant investments in educational, social security, child and elder care, health, fitness, community, and environmental resources. As is evident from the table in the first section of this paper, the Nordic countries rank particularly high on these measures as reflected in the United Nation’s composite measure of gender inequality (the GII), even though these countries do differ widely in terms of national economic structures and fiscal approaches. The US, Russia, and Canada rank notably lower on all these measures. Even when Arctic regional incomes are high, the adequacy of health, transportation, and community services is crucial to those whose cash incomes cannot provide them with minimum acceptable standards of living. Food security, housing, anti-violence programs, care resources, and environmental standards are also essential. Failure to provide adequate resources for women faced with violence cause pervasive problems (Nakray 2012). Local accounts of women’s lack of community resources link women’s low incomes with high housing costs, homelessness, and prostitution in northern areas (Rolbin-Ghanie 2007), and the Arctic Human Development Report links male suicide risks to inadequate health and social supports (Williamson et al. 2004: 190-91). Although there are wide differences across the circumpolar north, indigenous women generally face much lower levels of formal paid work than non-indigenous women in Arctic regions, and indigenous men do not always do much better. Indigenous peoples caught between the deterioration of traditional practices and poor access to non-indigenous employment, services, and communities face growing levels of homelessness, vulnerability to trafficking of various kinds, HIV/AIDS, and lack of alternatives (Abele et al. 2012). Indigenous women also face the effects of isolation when dealing with violence, and, in Canada, are murdered more frequently, and receive less protection than non-indigenous women (O’Donnell & Wallace 2011: 40). Lahey, Svensson, & Gunnarsson