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January 12, 2018

VDOL Gender $ Gap Report   More than Choice? A Review of the Gender Pay Gap, was prepared by the Economic and Labor Market Information Division of the Vermont Department of Labor.   It includes a section titled, Why It Matters, as well as these recommendations:

Collect more reliable pay and gender data.

Support pay transparency.

Don’t play the blame game: “just as the status quo is holding women back from  leadership roles, it is holding men back from embracing caretaking and support roles”  (Hill, Miller,  Benson, & Handley, 2016).

Invest in affordable, accessible and quality childcare.

Reevaluate how society values care jobs.

Explore and reflect on your own biases.

More than Choice? A Review of the Gender Pay Gap’s key findings included:

The raw pay gap is instructive, but incomplete; it illustrates a basic measure of women’s economic well-being compared to men’s.

Reports consistently find unexplained pay differences even after controlling for measurable factors that influence earnings.

Most of the discussion is centered around the interpretation of the “unexplained” residual: disagreement arises as to whether the residual is reflective of choice or discrimination.

The gender pay gap is present even within occupations, holding all other factors constant.

Though some choices may be inherently innate, others are socially constructed; decisions women make about their occupation are the result of individual choices, as well as societal norms, discrimination and other forces outside the control of the individual.

The pervasive gendered division of labor continues to hinder women’s mobility up the occupational hierarchy and ability to succeed in time-consuming, high-paying jobs.

Many women work in low-paying jobs and many jobs become low-paying after the entrance of women.

Read More than Choice? A Review of the Gender Pay Gap here.

December 11, 2017

(Montpelier) – Governor Phil Scott has appointed Mary Daly of Peacham to serve on the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW), the state’s non-partisan commission working to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls.

“Mary has a long history of public service, and has demonstrated a deep commitment to her community. She’s worked to make a difference in the lives of Vermonters, and shown leadership in protecting the vulnerable – a priority for my administration,” said Gov. Scott. “This commitment and experience will be valuable to the Commission and the critical role it plays for women and Vermont. I thank Mary for her willingness to serve once again.”

Born in St. Johnsbury and raised on a dairy farm in Peacham, Ms. Daly is a graduate of Peacham Academy and the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. 

Ms. Daly began her career as Staff Nurse at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, moving on to similar roles at several Colorado medical centers.   She then served in leadership roles, including Neuro Trauma Unit Supervisor, Assistant Director of Nurses, and Emergency Room Head Nurse in medical facilities in New Mexico and Colorado. As a Certified Disability Management Specialist, Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse, and Registered Nurse, she took on medical case management roles, including Rehabilitation Case Manager and Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinator for the Visiting Nurse Alliance of Vermont and New Hampshire. She was Executive Director of the High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program in Sharon, which provides individualized lessons addressing the physical, emotional, social and cognitive challenges of seniors, veterans, teens, adults and children with varying abilities.  Ms. Daly retired from Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital as Occupational Health Nurse in 2013.

Ms. Daly is a past Chair of the Orange County Republican Committee.  Having just moved back to Peacham, she now serves as Secretary of the Caledonia County Republican Committee. In addition, Ms. Daly volunteers for the national Office of Emergency Management's Medical Reserve Corps, where individuals with medical and public health backgrounds strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities, and build community resiliency.

Ms. Daly’s public service has included membership on the Governor’s Commission on Healthy Aging; the Fairlee town Selectboard and Board of Civil Authority; the Upper Valley River Sub-committee of the Connecticut River Joint Commission (representing Fairlee); the Board of Directors of the Fairlee Public Library; and as a Justice of the Peace.

November 14, 2017

The Vermont Republican Party has appointed Deborah T. Bucknam, Esq. of Walden to serve on the Vermont Commission on Women.  Ms. Bucknam will serve the remaining 2 years of Susie Hudson’s 4-year term.

Ms. Bucknam has been practicing law in Vermont since 1979, and was licensed to practice in New Hampshire in 2005. She has practiced in all courts in Vermont, including the Vermont Supreme Court, and all divisions of Vermont Superior Court, including the Probate Division, Family Division and Criminal Division, as well as Vermont Federal District Court.   She has litigated hundreds of contested matters, including personal injury, civil rights, voter fraud, land use, contract disputes, tax appeals, family and guardianship cases, criminal defense, and administrative proceedings before various Vermont administrative boards.

Ms. Bucknam graduated from Vermont Law School, cum laude, in 1979. She is a member of the Vermont Bar Association, the New Hampshire Bar Association, and the Federalist Society.  She received a certificate from the Harvard Law School Negotiation Institute in Advanced Negotiation.   She is a member of the Board of the Thaddeus Stevens School. Last year she ran an unsuccessful campaign for Vermont Attorney General, after winning the nomination in the Republican primary.

October 23, 2017

The Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force’s public hearing is scheduled for Monday, November 6th, 2017, from 5:30 -7:00 pm at Vermont Law School.  The hearing takes place in Debevoise Hall (Building 4), the Nina Thomas Classroom, located at 164 Chelsea Street, South Royalton, Vermont (VLS campus map link here). Parking is available in the lot on Cameron Way. Members of the public will have 5 minutes to testify, and can begin signing up 30 minutes prior to the event. 

Background: At the end of this year’s legislative session, Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) was placed on a new 8-member Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force created for the purpose of reviewing and making legislative recommendations to Vermont’s alimony laws. 

The legislation that created the Task Force included new non-binding statewide guidelines around amount and duration of alimony as one of eight factors for judges to consider.  Taskforce discussion has included termination of maintenance upon cohabitation or remarriage of the recipient and upon the retirement of the payor.

As a member of the Task Force, VCW will provide research and information, including presenting voices and stories of Vermont women on this issue. Nationally, alimony is awarded in only 10% of all divorces in the United States, so we know that this will be difficult to accomplish!  That’s why we are seeking help.

We’re looking for women (nationally 97% of alimony recipients) who are willing to share their stories about receiving or paying alimony in their Vermont divorce:

  • Maybe they were a full-time homemaker and parent, providing flexibility and contributing to the earning power and career advancement of their spouse.
  • Maybe as the stay-at home parent, time away from their career resulted in lost income, opportunity, and career advancement.
  • Maybe they should have been awarded alimony and were not.
  • Maybe they put their spouse through medical school or law school.
  • Maybe they were still serving as primary care giver to a child of the marriage.
  • Maybe they had agreed to be the full-time homemaker, and now later in life, have no work experience, and alimony payments prevent them from sliding into poverty.
  • Maybe their health or physical or mental disability reduces their ability to work and support themselves, or maybe they are caring for a child of the marriage with a serious physical or mental disability that requires extra care and supervision.
  • Maybe at the time of the divorce there wasn’t sufficient property available to provide a just and equitable division.
  • Maybe they were victims of domestic violence and face diminished earning capacity as a result of missed career or educational opportunities.
  • Maybe they have physical or emotional health problems as a result of domestic violence, impacting their ability to work and support themselves.
  • Maybe they pay out alimony to an ex-spouse who fits the descriptions above.

Are you or have you been a payor or receiver of alimony in Vermont?  Come to this public hearing, tell your story and make a difference.  Can’t make it and want to share your story?  Complete VCW’s online survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N8ZW3P9  or contact Hannah Lane at hannah.lane@vermont.gov or (802) 828-2852.

September 12, 2017

(Montpelier) – Governor Phil Scott has appointed Lisa Senecal to serve on the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW), the state’s non-partisan commission working to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls.

“Lisa’s background and commitment to raising awareness for issues of importance to women, and leadership in advocating to advance opportunities for women will be a tremendous asset on the Commission and for its important mission,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I thank Lisa for her willingness to serve in this role, and as a leader in Vermont.”

Ms. Senecal is a marketing and communications professional and small business entrepreneur. A fourth-generation Vermonter, she attended Norwich University as a civilian student. It was there that she developed her voice as a women’s advocate, being one of only a few women in most of her classes – an experience she considers invaluable both personally and professionally. She has launched and run three successful small businesses including an award-winning children’s entertainment company and a New Media issue advocacy consulting firm. Today, she divides her time between large-scale event management, writing with an emphasis on issues of particular importance to women, and communications consulting.

The mother of two teenaged sons, Ms. Senecal has been volunteering in her sons’ schools for more than a decade, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Stowe Education Fund, recently concluded work leading a year-long study on the viability of converting public schools to independent schools, leads fundraising initiatives for a variety of organizations, and served on the board of the Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley.

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