November 18, 2021

Sarah Launderville, Executive Director of the Vermont Center for Independent Living, moderates this dialogue with guests Deborah Lisi-Baker, Winnie Looby, Cara Sachs, and Laura Siegel in the new podcast in the Vermont Commission on Women’s (Un)Equal Pay Day series.

Introduced by VCW's Executive Director Cary Brown, this episode explores equity and employment through the lens of women with disabilities.  In addition to sharing personal experiences, each of the guests is engaged professionally in disability rights in Vermont and brings that expertise to this discussion.  Deborah Lisi-Baker was in leadership positions at UVM’s Center for Disability and Community Inclusion and as Executive Director for the Vermont Center for Independent Living.  Winnie Looby, Ph.D. is a UVM faculty member at the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion in the College of Education and Social Services.  Cara Sachs is a Vermont Center for Independent Living Americans with Disabilities Act Advocate and a personal life coach.  Laura Siegel is the Vermont State Director of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind Services.

Equal Pay Day is a symbolic day chosen to illustrate the point into the current year to which women must work to earn as much money as men made in the year before, due to the gender wage gap. With these video podcast conversations, VCW hopes to raise awareness about pay equity, and the ways racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism intersect, creating much larger wage gaps for women of color, women living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Another goal of the project is to listen to women about their experiences with pay inequity, how it impacts them, and what they think could help.

Watch this video podcast on YouTube, or listen on SoundCloud or Apple Podcasts.


The Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) is an independent non-partisan state commission working to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls. Sixteen volunteer commissioners and representatives from organizations concerned with women's issues guide VCW's public education, coalition building, and advocacy efforts.


November 17, 2021

"Vermont should never be last in something like this again," Lisa Senecal insisted in August 2020. Senecal co-chairs the (VT) commission (on Women), which works to advance opportunities for women and girls. "Women's voices are important," Senecal said in that interview. "We are representing more than 50% of the population in our state, that does not have female representation at the federal level, and that really has to change.

Watch the full story at VT Rep. Peter Welch Running for US Senate (NECN, 11/22/21)

October 28, 2021

We are thrilled to help promote This Way UP a website and campaign to identify Vermont women-owned businesses and women leaders, just launched by the Vermont Women’s Fund.

By going to This Way UP, women business owners and leaders can take a 10-minute online survey that identifies their business, and in real-time measures their overall impact on the state’s economy. Eye-catching infographics are constantly updated and an interactive data map tracks where businesses are located. The survey questions will also shed light on some of the challenges and barriers that women may or may not face when starting or growing their businesses.

ALL who feel comfortable with the title of “women-owned business” are invited to participate, regardless of pronouns or gender identity.  This includes those who are not officially “incorporated”, haven't hired employees, or are doing independent gigs on the side.

Engage in This Way UP to:

Be Represented
Once business owners take the survey, they're added to the #ThisWayUp report - a constantly evolving interactive database that tracks the number of women-owned businesses in the state. As a resource, it is secure, transparent, and the insights from the report are available to the public.

Get on the Map
Any business owner who enters their information will see their business added to our map of women-owned businesses around the state, creating a resource where others can find these businesses.

Join the Movement
#ThisWayUp will shine a light on stories of women making their own money their way. Help spread the word and help to create a future of representation and equity.

How does it Help Vermont?
#ThisWayUp is about representing the diversity of women owners across our state. It will give voice and visibility to the women powering the economies of our communities, no matter how small, no matter where they might be. A diverse workforce strengthens our economy, and increases opportunity for all.

Calling all women-owned businesses in VT - there is power in your numbers. Head to to show up, speak up, and shake up - take the survey and get your business counted!

Graphic link to This Way Up website

October 19, 2021

A newly-released video from UVM’s Larner College of Medicine’s Gender Equity Education Series captures VCW Executive Director Cary Brown's presentation, "Essential at Work and Home, Women and Covid-19" from September 13th.

Setting the context for Essential at Work and Home: Women and Covid-19, Cary incorporates women’s unpaid labor and caregiving roles, and addresses the pandemic's impact to women’s workforce participation, including the most recent state data available.  The talk closes with policy solutions for recovery.

October 12, 2021

Julie Scriber pictured with quote In her 20-year career with the Vermont State Police, Julie Scribner encountered an “astonishingly low” number of women with young children on the force.

“When I came on the job, I was a single mom. My kids were turning 5 and 10. This is not the kind of job that’s conducive to single parenthood,” Julie says.

Julie’s ex-husband took the kids when she was at the police academy and the kids lived with her mom for a time when Julie was working a lot of overnight shifts.

“I couldn’t have done this job without support from family,” Julie said. “But not everybody has that safety net.”

Law enforcement is a male-dominated profession and of the women that Julie did serve alongside during her tenure, very few had children.

“The child care issue is really problematic. When you have to work night shifts, you’re not going to find child care that goes until 2 or 3 in the morning. And if you do, you can’t afford to pay for it,” she said.

While women make up just 13 percent of the Vermont State Police force, that is almost double the national average for state law enforcement agencies.

“The best police department in the world would be one that represents the community that it serves. In Vermont, that would be roughly 50/50 women and men,” Julie said.

Julie, who retired in September 2021, played an instrumental role in Vermont State Police becoming the first state law enforcement agency in the country to sign onto the 30 x 30 Pledge, a national initiative to advance women in policing with a goal to have 30 percent of police recruit classes be composed of women by 2030.

Julie believes women need to see themselves represented in advertisements and recruiting efforts. She also believes culture change is needed to make law enforcement more welcoming to women. A positive example of this Julie witnessed was when the department purchased a portable Mamava lactation pod when a pregnant officer expressed concerns about being able to breastfeed after returning from maternity leave. 

“In order to be welcoming for women – and for all people – law enforcement needs to be proactive and not wait for situations to come up. We need to be asking ourselves how we can create a more inclusive work environment and culture,” Julie said.

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