Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap

“The Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative is a national forum where advocates, organizers, researchers, practitioners, and funders are coming together to close the gap by building wealth for low-income women and women of color.”

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2017 Status Report: Vermont Women and Leadership

2017 Status Report: Vermont Women and Leadership

This is the fourth in a series of reports published by Change The Story on topics related to women’s economic status. This report focuses specifically on women’s leadership in political, civic, and professional spheres, and the way in which leadership is related to economic security. We focused on leadership roles that can be identified and counted, including elected or appointed public servants at the state and municipal levels, leaders of critical community institutions, and leaders of organizations in the private and non-profit sectors. That said, it is important that we acknowledge the myriad other ways in which Vermont women and men serve as leaders, many of them unrecognized by traditional measures but nonetheless critically important. Most of the data in this report is either new or not regularly collected or published. All of it is specific to Vermont and is vitally important – not just in terms of what it reflects about women, but because of its implications for the state as a whole.

Download the full report.

Download the companion slide deck.

Among our findings:

  • By some measures Vermont is a national pacesetter in its share of women in public leadership.
    • Women are 39.4% of those serving in Vermont’s General Assembly, 60% of the state’s Supreme Court Justices, 43% of Executive Cabinet members and 50% of its public university and college presidents.
  • However, Vermont’s progress in achieving gender parity in leadership arenas has been uneven, slow-going or in some cases nonexistent.
    • Just one of Vermont’s six statewide officials is a woman, trailing the national average by 7 percentage points. Indeed, of the 296 individuals ever elected to statewide office, only 11 have been women.
    • Vermont and Mississippi are the only two states that have never sent a woman to Congress.
    • While women’s participation in Vermont’s General Assembly is the second highest in the country, the pace of change has essentially leveled off since 1993; in 24 years, women’s share of legislative seats has increased by just four percentage points.
  • When only 8% of Vermont’s highest grossing companies and 3 of its 15 hospitals are led by women, we can be certain that we are not making full use of all our state’s talent.
Additional Resources for VT Female Entrepreneurs

Additional Resources for VT Female Entrepreneurs

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Mercy Connections, Women’s Small Business Program

Director: Carmen Tall

Offering a variety of classes and discussion groups like:

  • Getting Serious: Intro to Self-Employment
  • Start Up: Comprehensive Business Planning
  • Personal Financial Empowerment Programs
  • Personal Financial Resource Groups: Money-Management Discussions

Learn more.

Women Business Owners Network, Vermont

Women Business Owners Network (WBON) is the membership choice for women entrepreneurs seeking connections, resources and tools to scale into greater economic, social and political arenas in Vermont and beyond.

Learn more.  Join as a member.

Center for Women & Enterprise, Vermont

Director: Gwen Pokalo

CWE provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs and women in business to increase professional success, personal growth, and financial independence. They offer:

  • Education
  • Training
  • Technical assistance
  • Women’s business enterprise certification

Learn more.

Small Business Development Center, Vermont

Director: Linda Rossi

The VT SBDC works as a team to positively impact sustainable, economic development in Vermont by strengthening both established businesses and start-up entrepreneurs.  They offer certified professionals who specialize in high quality, innovative advising and training to be responsive and serve the market.

Find an Advisor near you.

Vermont Commission on Women’s Business & Entrepreneurship Resources

Executive Director: Cary Brown

Vermont Commission on Women is an independent non-partisan state government commission dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women in Vermont since 1964.  They have a list of great resources for women’s business and entrepreneurship on their website.

Learn more here.

2016 Status Report: Women’s Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy

2016 Status Report: Women’s Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy

This is the third in a series of briefs published by Change The Story on topics related to women’s economic status. This report focuses specifically on business ownership by women and its potential to bolster and invigorate Vermont’s economy. Like the majority of national and regional reports on businesses, this report relies heavily on data from the 2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners. Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are specific to Vermont. To date, we have had to rely on national reports to define the health of Vermont’s women-owned businesses. But their conclusions paint conflicting pictures: one analysis of 2014 data ranked Vermont first among states for entrepreneurs, while another ranked Vermont 50th. The difference between these rankings begs the question: What is the real story for Vermont women and business ownership?

Download the full report.

Download the companion slide deck.

Among the findings:

  • Women-owned businesses are vital to Vermont’s economy.
    • Women own 23,417 businesses in Vermont, which employ 36,326 people, and generate annual revenues of approximately $2.2 billion.
  • Although growing at a faster rate than businesses owned by men, women-owned firms in Vermont are fewer in number, smaller in size, and lower in annual revenues.
    • Between 2007-2011, the number of female-owned businesses grew 15%; during the same period male-owned businesses grew by only 6%.
    • Women-owned businesses generate 9% of gross revenues and employ 12% of workers in privately-held Vermont firms.
    • Women business owners are significantly underrepresented in 9 of the 10 highest grossing sectors. This limits financial opportunities for individual women and their potential contributions to Vermont’s economy.
  • Women-owned businesses have the potential to play a much bigger role in Vermont’s economic development.
    • If the percent of women-owned businesses that are employers matched that of male-owned businesses, and those firms had the same average receipts, it would add $3.8 billion to Vermont’s economy.
    • If Vermont women chose business ownership at the same rate as men, it would result in more than 10,500 new businesses.
    • If just 1 in 4 of the existing 20,786 women-owned businesses without employees hired just one worker, it would result in an additional 5,200 new jobs.
  • Maximizing the potential of women-owned businesses – and indeed all of VT businesses – requires new and better data.
    • While existing business-related data sources can provide reliable top-line statistics, they are less useful in revealing nuanced information about the motivations, challenges or opportunities experienced by Vermont business owners. Focusing on the finer points of what makes a business successful is critical to Vermont’s economic future.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at the 20th Annual Vermont Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at the 20th Annual Vermont Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference

“For two decades, the Vermont Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference has been a staple of that effort, serving as a catalyst of entrepreneurship and an engine of advancement.  It has helped countless Vermont women from all walks of life embark on new careers, build new partnerships and develop new skills.  It has empowered them to take risks, to follow their passions and to fight for their rightful seat at the table.  And in doing so, it has created jobs, grown businesses and helped strengthen the economy not only of this great state, but of the entire nation.  That’s because the prosperity and well-being of America is increasingly tied to the prosperity and well-being of American women.  Today, women constitute more than half of the country’s workforce. More women are graduating from college than men and have since the 1990s.  And a growing number of women are now their family’s primary earner, which means that how much we spend on things like housing and health care increasingly depends on women’s professional success.  As President Obama has said, “When women do well, everybody does well.”

“Ultimately, that’s what your presence here today is all about.  By daring to make your dreams a reality; by demanding to be treated as equals; by striving to hone your skills and expand your horizons; and by forging bonds and building relationships with one another, you are creating positive change, right here in your great state.  You are challenging our institutions to become more open and inclusive.  You are helping our society to recognize that diversity only makes us stronger.  And, above all, you are serving as powerful role models for your daughters, your granddaughters and all those who will follow, ensuring by your example that the next generation will carry us even further down the path to a brighter, a more equal and a more just future.”

Read Senator Leahy’s full remarks from WEOC.

Read about the event in the Valley News.

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Middlebury College Perpetuates Vermont’s Gender-based Labor Divide

Middlebury College Perpetuates Vermont’s Gender-based Labor Divide

By and  | May 11, 2016

“Vermont’s reputation for progressive and liberal politics may be undeserved, at least when it comes to labor-gender equality.

A recent report by “Change the Story,” a statewide initiative devoted to female economic empowerment, revealed that little has changed in Vermont for women workers since the passage of Title IX in 1972. Occupational segregation, or the uneven gender distribution across and within labor sectors, stubbornly persists.

“Women are clustered in the same occupations today as they were back in 1970,” Cary Brown, Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women informed VTDigger.  “We still have ideas about what are appropriate jobs for women and what are appropriate jobs for men.”

These ‘female professions’ include office administration, food-service, teaching and nursing, according to the “Change the Story” report. Typical “male professions” include computers and math, engineering and law enforcement. 

The College is no exception. As the largest employer in Addsion County, the College employs over 1,500 Vermonters in faculty and staff positions. The report illuminates the occupational segregation present among these employees and possible gender biases in hiring decisions.

The most recent report on the status of women faculty and staff dates back to 2008. It states that the “College on the Hill” perpetuates occupational segregation, corroborating findings from the 2016 “Change the Story” report.” 

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