CHANGE THE STORY VT: 7 YEARS OF IMPACT
Learn more about the expansive work of our Change The Story VT partnership initiative with Vermont Women’s Fund and Vermont Works for Women over the last 7 years. This 14-minute farewell video covers the data reports we issued, the Business Peer Exchange, our free Leaders for Equity and Equal Pay (LEEP) Toolkit to help employers conduct race and gender pay equity reviews, the Let’s Talk card decks (with a special sneak preview: a new Let’s Talk Race deck is in the works), the Burlington High School girls varsity soccer team #EqualPay campaign and the fund they created, and the work of Vermont men championing change. We also share new projects partners created that were inspired by Change The Story VT, and most importantly, we express deepest thanks to all in Vermont and beyond who engaged in this work!
Fueled by the collaboration of three core partners – the Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women, and Vermont Works for Women the work was advanced with the help of individuals and organizations throughout the state in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
CTS launched in 2015 with a project to collect baseline data related to women’s work, wages, business ownership, and in civic, political, education, and corporate leadership roles, producing 5 status reports, which you’ll find on this page.
CTS, in partnership with Sadowski Consulting Services, created the Leaders for Equity and Equal Pay Toolkit, which you’ll also find on this page. This Toolkit is a free resource to empower small to mid-size employers (any organization with under 400 employees) with the tools to conduct in-house DIY gender and racial pay equity reviews.
In addition to the reports, the Toolkit, and many other innovative projects, CTS created the Business Peer Exchange, the Let’s Talk Gender, Let’s Talk Harassment, and Let’s Talk Race conversation cards, Male Champions for Change, and helped coordinate the global #EqualPay soccer jersey phenomenon.
Our deepest appreciation and gratitude to all Change The Story VT staff, to our partner organizations, and to all from Vermont and beyond who engaged in this work to change the story on gender equity.
The fifth report (released in 2019) on topics related to women’s economic status and leadership. Women, Work and Wages in Vermont explores a range of factors that contribute to women’s lower earnings. Findings reflect that women continue to be a disproportionate share of Vermonters living in poverty, working in low-wage jobs, shouldering primary responsibility for child and/or elder care, and experiencing sexual harassment and intimate partner violence.
This fourth report (released in 2017) focuses specifically on women’s leadership in political, civic, and professional spheres, and the way in which leadership is related to economic security. The report is focused on leadership roles that can be identified and counted, including elected or appointed public servants at the state and municipal levels, leaders of community institutions, and leaders of organizations in the private and non-profit sectors. 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.
Among the Vermont Women and Leadership report findings:
By some measures Vermont is a national pacesetter in its share of women in public leadership.
- Women were 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.
This is the third report (released in 2016) and 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 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners. Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are specific to Vermont.
Among the Women’s Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy report 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Women-owned businesses have the potential to play a much bigger role in Vermont’s economic development.
Maximizing the potential of women-owned businesses – and indeed all of VT businesses – requires new and better data.
The second report (released in 2016) focuses specifically on occupational segregation, its impact on women’s wages, and the way in which it compromises Vermont’s ability to make the most of home-grown talent. Much of the data in this report was new or not regularly collected or published. All of it is specific to Vermont and all is critical – not just in terms of what it reflects about women, but in its implications for the entire Vermont economy.
Among the Where Vermont Women Work and Why It Matters findings:
Women who work full-time struggle to make ends meet.
- Of the 15 occupations in which women’s median annual salaries top $35,000, nearly half are in male-dominated fields.
Occupational segregation, the uneven distribution of labor across and within sectors by gender, is the norm – not the exception – in Vermont.
- In 15 of 25 major occupational categories tracked by the U.S. Census, either men or women are 70% or more of all workers.
Forty years after Title IX, women’s work continues to be women’s work.
- The gender balance in most traditionally female occupations has remained nearly constant from 1970-2013. Nearly half of women working full-time in Vermont continue to be employed in the same occupations in which they worked forty years ago.
The next generation of female electricians, coders, and engineers isn’t in the pipeline.
- Young women are a small fraction of students who completed computer science, engineering, trades and technical programs at state career and technical high schools: 9% of those in information technology; 6% in manufacturing; 6% in transportation; and 5% in architecture and construction.
- While the gender breakdown is essentially equal among high school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests in calculus, chemistry, and biology, young women are a minority of students earning college degrees in physics, chemistry, computer science, economics, and engineering.
Occupational segregation is costly – not just for women, but for employers and the Vermont economy.
Nearly 60% of high-wage, high-demand entry-level occupations are those in which women are a significant minority of workers. Occupational segregation limits the pool of potential workers for jobs employers need to fill.
- Nearly 60% of high-wage, high-demand entry-level occupations are those in which women are a significant minority of workers. Occupational segregation limits the pool of potential workers for jobs employers need to fill.
This was the first report (released in January 2016) published by Change The Story VT (CTS) on topics related to women’s economic well-being. Much of the data in the briefs is either new, or not regularly collected or published. All of the data is specific to Vermont, and all is critical – not just in what it reflects about women, but in its implications for the entire Vermont economy.
Among the findings:
- Women are significantly more likely than men to live in poverty or economic insecurity – in large part because they have primary responsibility for the care of minor children.
- 43% of VT women who work full-time do not make enough to cover basic living expenses as defined by VT’s Joint Fiscal Office.
- The poverty rate for families headed by single women is 37.5% – nine times the poverty rate of married couples.
- Women who work full-time are disproportionately employed in low-wage jobs – in every age group, at every level of education.
- VT women are especially vulnerable in their senior years, when their median annual income from Social Security ($10,000) is half that of men ($20,000).
The data in this report was collected and analyzed by Flint Springs Associates, a Vermont-based consulting firm; principal researchers were Joy Livingston and Vicki Hart.
LEADERS FOR EQUITY & EQUAL PAY TOOLKIT
Leaders for Equity & Equal Pay Toolkit
The Leaders for Equity and Equal Pay Toolkit is a free resource to empower small to mid-size employers (any organization with under 400 employees) with the tools to conduct in-house, DIY gender and racial pay equity reviews.
The Toolkit includes the excel-based Equity Management Tool and a companion Pay Equity Playbook. Also included is an interactive Compensation Philosophy Worksheet, a Pay Equity Plan Template, and a Performance Rubric.
These tools were created by Sadowski Consulting Services in partnership with the Change The Story VT initiative of the Vermont Women's Fund, the Vermont Commission on Women, and Vermont Works for Women to fast-track women's economic well-being in Vermont.