Change The Story Vermont | Reports

Change the Story Vermont logoSpearheaded by Vermont Commission on Women, Vermont Works for Women, and the Vermont Women's Fund, Change The Story VT was a multi-year initiative to align philanthropy, policy, and programs to fast-track women's economic progress in Vermont.  To learn more about this initiative, go to our Change The Story VT page

2019 UPDATE: Women, Work, and Wages in Vermont - explores factors contributing to women’s lower earnings, examines occupational segregation; impact of bias, sexual harassment and intimate partner violence; looks at student loan debt and the "pink tax"; makes recommendations.  Full Report (50 pages)  |  Summary (4 pages)

Vermont Women and Leadership - examines women serving as elected or appointed public servants at state and municipal levels, as leaders of community institutions, and as leaders of organizations in the private and non-profit sectors.

Sneak Preview: Vermont Women in Leadership - quick preview of gender partiy in the public sphere.  Vermont, take a bow: you're #1 for women serving as state legislators!! 

Women's Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy - examines business ownership by women and its potential to bolster and invigorate Vermont’s economy.

Where Vermont Women Work...and Why It Matters - 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.

Women, Work and Wages in Vermont - focuses on demographic data and represents months of diving deep into state and national data, reports, and other ancillary resources to create an accurate snapshot of the state of women in Vermont when it comes to work and wages.

Learn more: Watch Kate Troiano’s video about Change the Story’s work (4 minutes)


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 the companion Pay Equity Playbook as well as an interactive Compensation Philosophy Worksheet, Pay Equity Plan Template, and Performance Rubric.

These tools were created by Sadowski Consulting Services in partnership with Change The Story VT, an initiative of the Vermont Commission on Women, Vermont Works for Women, and the Vermont Women's Fund to fast-track women's economic well-being in Vermont.

Download the toolkit from our Change The Story Vt partner, Vermont Women's Fund


Child Marriage

Child Marriage title graphic with gold rings

Vermont law allows minors age 16 & 17 to marry with the permission of one parent. According to Vermont Department of Health records, 223 Vermonters age 16 – 17 were married between the years of 2000 – 2013, and 87% of those were girls. VCW analysis indicates that 49% of girls who married as minors wed someone 4 or more years older than themselves, including 9% of girls who married someone more than 10 years older.  Read more about the issue, the worldwide movement to end child marriage, and the approaches other states are taking in this issue brief.



Impacts of COVID-19 on Vermont Households: A Survey Analysis

A team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Indiana University investigated the impacts of COVID-19 and its socioeconomic fallout on US households.  Survey questions covered employment, business operations, household finances, labor productivity, child care and education, mental and physical health, and substance use.  Joining with our Change The Story initiative partnership, we helped to distribute the survey statewide.  Over 500 Vermonters took part, and lead researcher Marta Vicarelli and her team prepared a Vermont-specific analysis.  Among Vermont respondant’s concerns: pandemic-related disruptions in work, school, and child care, inequitable divisions of household labor, increases in depression, anxiety, and substance use, and economic insecurity. 
Read our press release about the survey.   
Read the survey results
Read about survey findings on mental health concerns and substance use.



Access To Menstrual Supplies

Coinciding with legislative action, VCW debuted a new info sheet about access menstrual supplies.  The document explores the issue and what actions other states have taken to remove barriers to these products.

Menstrual supplies access info sheet



COVID-19, Child care and Vermont's Economic Recovery
Child Care one page document

COVID-19, Women and Vermont's Economic Recovery
One page document about impacts to Vermont during COVID

COVID-19, Parenthood, and Vermont's Economic Recovery



The COVID-19 Crisis and Vermont Women

A data dashboard document tracking the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on women and girls in Vermont.  Last updated 10/5/21.
Small image of page 2 of VCW's COVID dashboard


COVID-19 Resource Page


(Un)Equal Pay Day for Women | Part 2 in VCW's Video Podcast Series

Based on median earnings for full-time, year-round workers, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men.  Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) presented the second in a series of Equal Pay Day video podcast conversations on March 24th, the day into the year women need to work before their earnings catch up to those of men in 2020 due to the wage gap. 

This podcast conversation centers on the ways COVID-19 impacts decisions that women and their families are making.  It touches on career choice and advancement, including occupational segregation.  It explores the critical role of women as essential workers and as early care and education providers in keeping women in the workforce, while calling attention to how their worth is not reflected in earnings or status. Guests recount personal stories reflecting on the challenges and gifts of this time as women working in Vermont.  The podcast concludes with a hope-filled discussion about this unique opportunity to reconstruct and rebuild systems back to be more equitable.

Our guests include educator Lara Scott, the director of Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts (MOVE) at Saint Michael’s College, and Sarah MacDonald, assistant director and classroom educator at the Early Learning Center in Colchester.  The conversation is introduced by VCW's executive director Cary Brown and moderated by VCW Commissioner Kellie Campbell, Chief Technology Officer at Vermont Tech and Chair of VCW’s Education and Human Development committee. 

This podcast addresses equal pay day and the wage gap for all women in the U.S. VCW’s first podcast launched March 9th, Asian American and Pacific Islander women’s equal pay day, and featured a conversation with Bor Yang, director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission, Senator Kesha Ram, and VCW Chair Lisa Senecal. You can view it below.  As the year progresses VCW will produce episodes marking equal pay days for mothers on June 4, for women living with disabilities who work full-time on June 13, for Black women on August 3, for Native American women on September 8, and for Latinas on October 21. They plan to launch a podcast focused on the LGBTQIA+ community during national Pride month, on June 28.

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, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and women living with disabilities. 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.

Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud or iTunes.


(Un)Equal Pay Day for Asian American and Pacific Islander Women | Premiere Episode of VCW's Video Podcast Series

The Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) joins organizations nationwide in drawing attention to Equal Pay Day each year. Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into this year women must work to catch up to what the average white non-Hispanic man earned in the previous year.

The Commission launched a new video podcast series, the first of which launched March 9th, Equal Pay Day for Asian American and Pacific Islander women. Guests on this first podcast include Bor Yang, director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission and Senator Kesha Ram. The conversation is introduced by the VCW's executive director Cary Brown and moderated by the Commission's chair Lisa Senecal.

Based on median earnings for full-time, year-round workers, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white non-Hispanic men. While AAPI Equal Pay Day is earlier in the year than other Equal Pay Days, the average AAPI woman would still need to work until March 9th, more than 2 months extra, to earn what the average white, non-Hispanic man made in the previous year.

While that’s true, it’s also true that the AAPI population is far from monolithic, and for many of its diverse communities, the wage gap is much, much larger. (Un)Equal Pay Days would fall toward the end of the year for Vietnamese women (at $0.67 to the dollar), for Hmong women (at $0.61 to the dollar) and for Nepalese women (at $0.54 to the dollar).

Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud or iTunes.


The Listening Project

six photos of different women

Full Listening Project Report

Listening Project Executive Summary

What Vermonters are Saying, Listening Project one-page reports, by topic:


COVID-19 & Vermont Women

VCW presented this research and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on Vermont women to the Legislative Women's Caucus in May 2020.


Workplaces For All: helping Vermonters address sexual harassment and workplace discrimination

Created as a resource to help employers, workers and all Vermonters address sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, our new Workplaces For All site offers:

For Workers

For Employers



New Title IX Regulations

In May 2020, the U.S. Department of Education announced new regulations to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, governing how educational institutions, including colleges and universities, respond to allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. In this information sheet, we summarize the major impacts of these regulations, state the proposed rule, present the comments we shared with the administration last year, and indicate changes made to the proposed rules before adoption.


The Gender Wage Gap

In time for Equal Pay Day 2020, this information sheet covers facts about the gender wage gap in our state and nationally.


The Legal Rights of Women in Vermont

Picture of State House as cover image of handbookSince 1977, The Legal Rights of Women in Vermont has been a “go to” source of information for Vermont women, their families, and the professionals that serve them. Written in plain language, the handbook, although written for women, covers issues affecting all Vermonters, such as marriage and divorce, adoption, wills and probate, women’s health, employment and education, housing and public accommodations, violence, public assistance and government benefits, insurance as well as others. New features include information on human trafficking, health insurance, same sex marriage, and immigration. The new edition allows users to link directly to the Vermont Commission on Women’s comprehensive resource directory and to federal and state statute websites. The result is reader-friendly content with easy-access reference links.
7th Edition Acknowledgements  (305 KB)
Chapter 1: Adoption, Guardianship & Emancipated Minors  (128 KB)
Chapter 2: Consumer Protection & Fair Credit   (132 KB)
Chapter 3: Domestic Relations  (282 KB)
Chapter 4: Education  (100 KB)
Chapter 5: Employment Rights  (249 KB)
Chapter 6: Housing & Property Rights  (93 KB)
Chapter 7: Immigration  (140 KB)
Chapter 8: Insurance  (291 KB)
Chapter 9: Name & Gender Marker Changes (84 KB)
Chapter 10: Public Accommodations (90 KB)
Chapter 11: Public Assistance & Government Benefits  (145 KB)
Chapter 12: Reproductive Rights  (118 KB)
Chapter 13: Violence Against Women & Children  (326 KB)
Chapter 14: Wills, Probate Court, & Advanced Directives  (134 KB)


Video: Preventing Sexual Harassment

A joint project between the Vermont Attorney General’s Small Business Initiative and Civil Rights Unit, this video provides an overview of Vermont’s current workplace sexual harassment laws and summarizes employers’ obligations under those laws.  The video features a roundtable discussion moderated by Tabitha Pohl-Moore, President of the Rutland Area Branch of the NAACP, and features Cary Brown, Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women, as well as Shirley Jefferson, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity at Vermont Law School.  The video defines workplace sexual harassment, explains Vermont employers’ obligations to appropriately respond to claims of sexual harassment, and provides links to resources such as the Vermont Department of Labor’s model sexual harassment policy. Produced with assistance from WCAX TV.

Comments or questions about Vermont’s sexual harassment laws should be directed to the Vermont Office of the Attorney General, Civil Rights Unit,, (888) 745-9195 (toll free in Vermont), or (802) 828-3657.  For additional resources for small businesses in Vermont, please contact the Vermont Office of the Attorney General Small Business Initiative at (800) 649-2424 or visit


Pregnancy-Related Workplace Accommodations for Vermont Employers

Learn more about workplace protections for Vermont’s pregnant workers.  What are reasonable accommodations?  What do you need to know as an employer or HR (human resources) manager to comply with Vermont law?


Pregnancy-Related Workplace Accommodations for Vermont Workers

Learn more about working while you’re pregnant in Vermont.  Here’s what you need to know about asking for what you need stay healthy on the job.


Vermont and the Wage Gap

A one-page quick glance at gender wage gap data in our state.


Women, Work and Child Care

White paper on child care + Vermont's economy + gender equity - from LGK + VCWVermont Commission on Women and Let’s Grow Kids released this co-authored white paper on International Women's Day, 3/18/18.  The paper examines the intersection of child care, our economy, and gender equity.









NEW: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Bystander Intervention

Suggestions for BystandersPeople struggle to determine what the best or most helpful course of action would be if they witness sexual harassment in the workplace. If you find yourself in a bystander situation, here are some ways you can help.









E-Newsletter: VIEW 

Click here to subscribe to Vermont Commission on Women’s monthly e-newsletter, called VIEW (short for Vermont Information Exchange for Women).






Taxation of Menstrual Supplies

Grocery store receipt

In Vermont, a bill in the 2019-2020 legislative session (H.29) would add tampons, sanitary napkins, and similar menstrual supplies to the list of items excluded from sales tax. In 2019, middle school students gathered more than 2300 signatures on a petition calling for the elimination of the sales tax on menstrual supplies. In November 2019, lawmakers wrote a letter to Vermont’s acting Tax Commissioner, asking whether menstrual supplies could fall under existing exemptions. The Tax Department responded, recommending legislative action as the easiest path to exempt these products from sales tax.  Read VCW's info sheet for more information.







Vermont Paid Family and Medical Leave Feasibility Study

The Vermont Commission on Women received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau to study the feasibility of a paid family and medical leave program in Vermont. This study was conducted by IMPAQ International, in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the UVM’s Center for Rural Studies, and Lake Research Partners and completed in 2016.  Elements of the study included: a cost-benefit analysis; financing, eligibility, and benefit modeling; an implementation feasibility analysis and public opinion surveying; an economic-impact analysis and profiles of families; and both a survey and focus groups of Vermont employers.  We hope the findings enrich and inform policy conversations.  View highlights from the study here.  View the full study here.




Accommodations for Pregnant Workers

Pregnancy Accomodations ComixIn January 2017, a bill (H. 136) was introduced in the Vermont Legislature that would ensure healthy pregnant workers in Vermont receive reasonable workplace accommodations such as having access to water, access to a stool or a chair, longer or more frequent restroom breaks, or avoiding heavy lifting. The bill was signed into law May 4th!
Read VCW's testimony on H.136 here.
Read VCW’s press release, New Protections for Pregnant Workers here.
Read VCW's policy brief for more information about these protections.






Important Workplace Laws
For Workers  |  For Employers

Workplace laws

These flyers, one designed for workers, the other designed for employers, provide information about rights and responsibilities under equal pay laws and other laws governing the workplace.   For example: Vermont workers now the right to request flexible working arrangements without fear of retaliation. Those intermediate or long-term changes might include working from home, changes in the number of days or hours worked, changes in work arrival or departure times or job-sharing. Employers must discuss and consider such requests at least twice per calendar year. Other information incorporated includes current equal pay laws, how to handle suspected pay discrimination, wage disclosure laws, pregnant worker’s rights, lactation accommodations, anti-retaliation protection, and information concerning family and medical leave. 
Important Workplace Laws Vermont Workers Should Know (PDF, 167 KB)
Important Workplace Laws Vermont Employers Should Know (PDF, 196 KB)







Requesting Salary History from a Job Applicant

Salary History picture of handshake between employer and new employeeThe wage gap tends to grow during the course of a career.  Raises, bonuses, and even salaries at new jobs are frequently based on current earnings and salary history; for women and minorities already being paid less, this perpetuates the wage gap.  In Vermont, a bill (H.294) was introduced that would prohibit employers from requesting or requiring an applicant’s salary history until after they’ve made an offer for employment, including an initial salary offer. Read VCW's info sheet for more information.








Brochure coverLearn more about the Commission: who we are, what we do.
VCW Brochure (PDF file, 126 KB)
You can also learn more by linking to About Us on this website.











Vermont Workplaces Support Nursing Moms

Nursing MomsEmployers and employees: find out more about the needs and rights of moms returning to work.
Nursing Moms (PDF file, 1202 KB)











The Status Of Women And Girls In Vermont | Reports

Status report coverWomen in Leadership and Public Life 2015  (PDF file, 412 KB)

2013 Women in Public Life  (PDF file, 856 KB)

2011 Women in Public Life (PDF file, 274 KB)

2009 Status Report (PDF file, 735 KB)

2008 Status Report (PDF file, 384 KB)

2007 Status Report (PDF file, 417 KB)

2006 Status Report (PDF file, 701 KB)

2005 Status Report (PDF file, 335 KB)

2004 Status Report  (PDF file, 4648 KB)

2003 Status Report  (PDF file, 3234 KB)



Domestic Violence: A Workplace Issue

 a workplace issueDomestic Violence Doesn't Stay Home When Victims Go to Work.VCW partnered with the Vermont Attorney General's office, the Vermont Council on Domestic Violence and other advocates to address domestic violence as a public health and safety issue in the workplace. Download these materials for your workplace:

Domestic Violence: A Workplace Issue (PDF file, 78 KB)

Full Report of 2011 Study: How Does Domestic Violence Affect the Vermont Workplace? A survey of male offenders enrolled in batterer intervention programs in Vermont.
Schmidt, M.C. & Barnett, A. M.C. & Barnett, A. (2011). Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Center for Rural Studies

Executive Summary of Study
Schmidt, M.C. & Barnett, A. M.C. & Barnett, A. (2011). Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Center for Rural Studies

Model Workplace Policy
Adopting a Domestic and Sexual Violence policy will heighten awareness and provide guidance for employees and management in addressing the occurrence of domestic and sexual violence and their effects in the workplace. You will find two sample policies, one an abbreviated version that addresses basic workplace concerns, the other a model comprehensive policy.  These materials were assembled by the Domestic Violence and the Workplace committee of the Vermont Council on Domestic Violence for the report (above).




The Vermont Guide to Parental and Family Leave

This 20-page booklet provides information for employees and employers about parental, family, and short-term leave. Information includes descriptions of federal and Vermont state laws, detailed definitions for each type of leave, and answers to commonly-asked questions. UPDATE: In June of 2012, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that annual and sick leave accruals are not employee benefits. Therefore, your employer is not required to accrue vacation and sick leave hours for the unpaid hours that you take off for either short-term or long-term family or parental leave. However your employer may continue to allow you to accrue vacation and sick time during either short or long term leave.
Vermont Guide to Parental and Family Leave (PDF file, 5 MB)








Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: A Guide for Employees and Employers

Sexual Harassment publicaitonThis 20-page booklet provides general information, including a definition of sexual harassment, descriptions of state and federal laws, policies for Vermont businesses, and steps employees can take if harassed.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (PDF file, 674 KB)











An Insider’s Guide to Getting Appointed to Vermont State Boards and Commissions

Getting AppointedThis 16-page booklet takes the reader through step-by-step preparation for the boards and commissions applications process.

Getting Appointed to Vermont State Boards and Commissions (PDF file, 1,037 KB)

Vermont boards and commissions have multiple appointing authorities, many include the Governor. Link here for vacancy information and an application: Governor's Boards & Commissions Office








Listen, Talk, and Keep Talking

Tips, tricks and resources for parents and guardians when confronted with objectionable sexual, sexist or violent language or imagery.   Listen, Talk (and Keep Talking) (PDF file, 243 KB)









Governor's Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force, Final Report

The first of its kind in the nation, the Governor's Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force was created (in 2011) by Governor Shumlin to evaluate Vermont’s domestic and sexual violence prevention resources and programs, identify gaps in services, identify ways to increase coordination of prevention efforts around the state, and make recommendations to enhance and improve prevention efforts in Vermont. Workgroups of the taskforce examined data collection, college campus prevention efforts, workplace approaches, men’s attitudes, military practices, effective social change campaigns and prevention practices currently in place.

The report features 7 recommendations:

1. Support the creation and implementation of a comprehensive statewide plan to prevent domestic and sexual violence
2. Support and help develop a statewide, multipronged prevention campaign
3. Build capacity for bystander engagement strategies for all ages
4. Increase the engagement of men in domestic and sexual violence prevention
5. Strengthen Vermont college campuses’ response to prevention of domestic and sexual violence
6. Enhance data collection and accessibility
7. Establish a Violence Prevention Program Coordinator at the State level

View the report. (PDF 3.17 MB)



"What Teen Girls Say" | Statewide Surveys of Vermont Girls

Scout SurveyVermont Commission on Women and Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains collaborated on these statewide surveys of teen girls in 6th through 12th grade.  Survey topics and questions were created by a panel of girls.  That panel also presented survey results to legislators at the Vermont State House each year, consequently, “What Teen Girls Say” survey results captured the attention of policy makers,  school officials, parents and the media.  Topics included: social media; planning for jobs or college; making, saving, and spending money; bullying and harassment; health and wellness; and growing up in Vermont.

2011: Relationships (PDF file, 151 KB)

2010: Employment and Education (PDF file, 224 KB)

2009: Money Matters (PDF file, 1,982 KB)

2008: Health and Wellness (PDF file, 1,089 KB)

2007: Bullying and Harassment (PDF file, 1,053 KB)

2006: Growing Up in Vermont (PDF file, 1,340 KB)



VCW's Resource Lists




Reclaiming Lost Ground for Vermont's Incarcerated Women

The Vermont Commission on Women took part in this collaborative effort to improve conditions for women inmates at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in 2012.   Reclaiming Lost Ground for Vermont's Incarcerated Women. (PDF file, 459 KB)



Managed Care and You: A Simple Guide to Choosing and Using a Managed Care Health Plan

Managed CareA set of comprehensive educational materials for health consumers, these booklet detail how managed care works, how to choose a health plan, what to do to get the health care you and your family need, what your rights are in managed care, and what to do if you have a problem with your health plan. Managed Care and You (PDF file, 5,847 KB)










Accessing Health Care In Vermont: A Woman-Centered Approach

Health Report CoverAdopted by VCW in 2005, this paper addressed the need of Vermont women to access affordable health care throughout their lives. Health Care in VT (PDF file, 155 KB)