VCW engages in coalitions and collaborations that are far-reaching and powerful, spanning the state as well as New England. Our work has contributed to Vermont being recognized as a leader in legislation and policies related to sexual harassment, equal pay, and engagement of private sector partners.
Recent Partnerships and Coalition Participation
Change The Story VT
Menstrual Equity Coalition
Racial Equity Learning Community, through Change The Story VT
Social Equity Caucus
Vermont FaMLI Coalition
Governor's Workforce Equity and Diversity Council
Legislative Women's Caucus
Vermont Council on Domestic Violence
Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance
New England Women's Policy Conference planning committee
Hunger Free VT Universal School Meals organizational supporter
#MakeWorkWorkForUs women in the workforce messaging with Let's Grow Kids, Vermont Women's Fund, Change The Story VT, and Vermont Works for Women
Vermont Raise the Wage Coalition
Workplaces For All, a website and campaign addressing sexual harassment and workplace discrimination created in consultation with the Vermont Attorney General’s office and the Vermont Human Rights Commission
Vermont Historical Society for Women's History Month presentations
Vermont Historical Society, awarding foundation-funded Deborah Pickman Clifford prize at Vermont History Day
League of Women Voters and Business and Professional Women VT for annual Equal Pay Day advocacy
Let’s Grow Kids for Women, Work and Child Care white paper
Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force
Senator Leahy’s Women's Economic Opportunity Conference planning committee
IMPAQ International, in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the UVM’s Center for Rural Studies, and Lake Research Partners for a U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau-funded feasibility study of a paid family and medical leave program in Vermont
Vermont Public Radio, annual women's history month commentary series
Vermont Department of Health State Health Assessment and Improvement Plan Advisory Committee
Recent Partnership and Coalition Work
#MakeWorkWorkForUs was a Labor Day 2021 campaign focusing on solutions supporting women in the workforce, both as a cornerstone of our pandemic economic recovery, and as a workforce development strategy to strengthen our state’s economy. This was a partnership effort of Vermont Commission on Women, Let’s Grow Kids, Vermont Works for Women, the Vermont Women’s Fund, and Change The Story VT.
Menstrual Equity Coalition
The Menstrual Equity Coalition worked together to ensure Act 73 included eliminating sales tax on menstrual products in 2021. Coalition members included Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Planned Parenthood of Norther New England, Vermont Works for Women, Change The Story VT, NASW-VT and Vermont Youth Lobby.
Impacts of Covid-19 on Vermont Households: a Survey Analysis
Conducted between October 2020 and February 2021 by a team of researchers from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, and Indiana University, this survey investigated the impacts of COVID-19 and its socioeconomic fallout on US households. Joining with our Change The Story Vt initiative partners, 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 respondent’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.
Vermont Students Awarded Deborah Pickman Clifford Prize at Vermont History Day
The Vermont Historical Society presents Vermont History Day, an annual contest for students in grades 5 through 12 and homeschool students ages 10-18. VCW’s Education and Research Foundation funds the Deborah Pickman Clifford prize for the most outstanding History Day entry related to women who have contributed to our state, or to the role that women have played in Vermont history. VCW Commissioners often serve as judges for this cash prize. The prize is in honor of Deborah Pickman Clifford, an accomplished historian and author.
Women, Work & Child Care
Released on International Women's Day in 2018, Vermont Commission on Women and Let’s Grow Kids co-authored white paper, Women, Work and Child Care examined the intersection of child care, our state’s economy, and gender equity.
Spousal Support and Maintenance Taskforce
At the end of the 2017 legislative session, VCW was placed on an 8-member Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force created for the purpose of reviewing and making legislative recommendations to Vermont’s alimony laws. As well as research and information, VCW collected and presented the stories of Vermont women at taskforce public hearing.
Senator Leahy’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference
VCW joined many organizations on the planning committee for Senator Leahy’s free statewide Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference for many years. In September 2017, our partnership initiative, Change The Story Vt served as the conference theme, with lively workshops and discussions on how to improve women’s economic status. At the 2016 conference, VCW Executive Director Cary Brown co-presented the workshop: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace with Julio Thompson of the Vermont Attorney General's Civil Rights Division, and Karen L. Richards of the Vermont Human Rights Commission.
Women's History Month Events and Commentary
VCW partnered with the Vermont Historical Society (VHS) to honor Women's History Month (March) each year. Along with VHS, we also worked with Vermont Public Radio to offer a corresponding-themed commentary series.
Explore the women’s history month events and commentary
Minimum Wage Testimony
In 2017 VCW was asked to testify on H.63 and H.93, bills address raising the minimum wage. VCW's Executive Director Cary Brown provided information about how this legislation might impact women. In our February 8th meeting, VCW voted to become a member of the Vermont Raise the Wage Coalition.
International Day of The Girl
The challenges young women face prompted the United Nations in 2012 to create International Day of the Girl - a youth-led movement for gender justice. South Burlington High School senior Kiran Waqar, a youth activist and Muslim Girls Making Change member, coordinated a Vermont event in 2017 to honor International Day of the Girl. The presentation featured Selamawit Adugna Bekele of Ethiopia, an international activist and expert, speaking on the education crisis worldwide. Speakers also included VCW Commissioners Gretchen Bailey and Marybeth Redmond.
State Health Assessment and Improvement Plan Advisory Committee
VCW was among a multitude of wide-ranging organizations taking part in this effort to set future health improvement priorities for the Vermont Department of Health.
Partnerships and Coalition Participation prior to 2017
Change the Story Steering Committee
Change the Story Marketing Committee
Criminal Justice Involved Women Advisory Group
Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty
Governor’s Workforce Equity & Diversity Council
Intercollegiate Council on Sexual Violence Prevention
New England Women’s Policy Initiative
Paid Family Leave Coalition (statewide family and medical leave insurance program)
Vermont Council on Domestic Violence
Vermont Department of Corrections Recidivism Reduction Grant Steering Committee
Vermont Early Childhood Alliance
Vermont Justice Coalition
Vermont Women’s Alliance
Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference planning committee
Vermont FaMLI (Family and Medical Leave Insurance) Coalition Launches
The FaMLI Coalition launched its campaign to establish a statewide family and medical leave insurance program in October 2017. This program would allow Vermonters to have access to paid, job-protected leave. The leave would cover time to bond with or care for a newborn, recover from a serious long-term illness or injury, or care for a family member with a serious long-term illness or injury. Speakers at the launch included VCW Executive Director Cary Brown.
VCW & Norwich Present AAUW'S Start Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop
In spring of 2016, VCW in collaboration with Norwich University’s Career and Internship Center presented American Association of University Women’s Start Smart salary negotiation workshop to students with facilitator, Lindsey Lathrop-Ryan of Change The Story Vermont. This program was made possible by a grant from the New England Women's Policy Initiative through the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Sex, Race & Empowerment In The 21st Century Conference
Hosted by Vermont Law School's Women's Law Group, Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the Vermont Commission on Women, this 2016 conference offered an opportunity for participants to understand the impact of violence and the importance of providing legal and advocacy services to all survivors, and the importance of ensuring women's access to affordable and safe reproductive healthcare. Presenters included VCW Executive Director Cary Brown, students and professors from VLS, staff from the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, The Pride Center of Vermont, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and many others.
Paid Sick Days
VCW's Commissioners, Advisors and staff watched from the House galley as Governor Shumlin signed into law Paid Sick Days in March of 2016. VCW provided testimony and support as a member of Vermont's Paid Sick Days Coalition.
Forums Exploring Paid Family & Medical Leave
In fall of 2015 Vermont Commission on Women and Main Street Alliance of Vermont hosted a series of community forums across the state focusing on long-term paid family and medical leave. These forums examined the possibility of developing and implementing a state-run Temporary Disability and Caregiver Insurance (TDCI) Program as a funding mechanism for leave. Participants explored the need for a TDCI program; how similar programs had been implemented in other states; and what a successful TDCI program could look like for Vermont. The forums consisted of a brief presentation followed by a discussion with business owners and community members. The Vermont Community Foundation provided financial support to facilitate the coordination and the events took place in Brattleboro, Manchester, St. Albans, Burlington and Rutland. In addition to the host organizations an Oversight Committee reviewed findings and provided guidance. Oversight Committee participants represent a variety of constituencies and expertise related to the topic, and include a UVM labor economist and specializing in the political economy of low-wage labor market, as well as representatives from the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce & Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation; the Vermont Attorney General’s Office; Vermont Department of Health’s Division of Maternal and Child Health, AARP; Governor Shumlin's office; the Vermont Department of Labor; and Change the Story Vermont.
Celebrating Women's Equality Day 2015
August 26, 2015, marked the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - an important milestone in women's equality, although access to voting for women of color would not be a reality for decades, until the Voting Rights Act. Policymakers, business owners and advocates gathered at a press conference in Burlington to mark this anniversary, and celebrate both progress for women in our state and milestones yet to be won. VCW Executive Director Cary Brown opened the event and served as emcee, explaining the significance of Women’s Equality Day and providing context for how provisions like paid sick days play a role in women’s economic security.
Change The Story Vermont
In 2015, working in coalition with partners Vermont Women’s Fund and Vermont Works for Women, we launched Change The Story Vermont, a multi-year strategy to align philanthropy, policy, and program to significantly improve women’s economic status in Vermont.
Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty
VCW Executive Director Cary Brown and VCW Commissioner Melinda Moulton served on the Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty. The Council was comprised of citizens who had received state benefits, as well as representatives from organizations who provide direct services or work to address poverty in Vermont.
Health Impact Assessment Of Paid Sick Leave In Vermont
In 2014, Vermont Commission on Women joined representatives from the Health Department, child care centers, the restaurant industry, trade organizations, elder care and home health organizations, schools, primary care physicians, and the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce in a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) stakeholder group convened by the Department of Health. The goal was to assess the possible effect of a statewide paid sick leave policy on the health of Vermonters and to recommend ways to mitigate any adverse health impacts of such legislation. In addition to this overarching goal, the HIA stakeholder group chose to focus on aspects of special interest to Vermonters, namely impact on small business employees and the effect on victims of domestic violence. 2015 Report | Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Of Paid Sick Leave In Vermont.
Preventing Violence on Vermont's College Campuses
Vermont college and university staff gathered in fall 2014 for a focus group addressing how Vermont college campuses can integrate, sustain, and institutionalize domestic and sexual violence prevention. VCW staff participated, facilitating discussion groups. The work was initiated in response to the recommendation of the Governor's Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force to "strengthen Vermont college campuses’ response to prevention of domestic and sexual violence.” This effort eventually evolved into a sustained statewide learning community of these professionals.
Engaging College Campuses focus group summary.
Young Women: Enough Said
VCW was a member of Vermont Works for Women’s Taskforce on Young Women and the Economy and supported the efforts to address findings of Vermont Works for Women’s 2013 "Enough Said” report: revealing that many young women across the state considered themselves ill-equipped and under-prepared for the challenges of school, work, career, economic independence, and adulthood.
Vermont Girls Collaborative Forums
Moderated by Vermont Public Radio’s Jane Lindholm, these 2011 forums presented ideas for how to responsibly address racial inequality, socioeconomic differences, gender identity, and harassment when working with young Vermonters. The Vermont Girls’ Collaborative was a network of programs serving girls in grades K-12 across the state that worked together to leverage the power of girls’ programs through sharing resources, ideas, and relationships; promote girls’ well-being and social equity; and, to expand the capacity of girls’ programs to meet the needs of Vermont girls.
Human Trafficking Taskforce
The Vermont Commission on Women served on the Vermont Human Trafficking Taskforce, and contributed to efforts to protect and serve victims, including legislation such as 2011's Act 55. The Taskforce produced a Vermont Human Trafficking Victim Resource Guide, and a Fact Sheet with information for supporting and assisting potential victims of sex or labor trafficking in our state.
Prevention Of Domestic And Sexual Violence Taskforce
The first of its kind in the nation, the Governor's Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force was created in 2011 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. Task Force membership included appointees from business, law enforcement, corrections, health, the LGBTQ+ community, VCW, the disability community, and experts in the field of child abuse and domestic and sexual violence. Taskforce workgroups 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 featured 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
Task Force on the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Report (2013)
Domestic Violence as a Public Health And Safety Issue in the Workplace
VCW worked 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. One outcome of this work was the Domestic Violence: A Workplace Issue brochure.