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Writing About Women in Business in Vermont

As Shane Ferro writes in Business Insider – and as we’ve heard many times before – “Women are nearly 50% of the workforce in the US, but our workplaces are far from equal.”

And as the Atlantic reports, “25% of women feel their gender has hindered their progress, a perception that grows more acute once women reach senior levels.”

Responding to an article we posted last week, a very small number of readers challenged the need for AgendaVT to focus on “just half” of Vermont’s potential workforce. It would be better, they felt, to focus on advancing business for all Vermonters.

Or, responding to a US Census Bureau report that women earn 80 percent of what men are paid, some of those readers said that women “choose” lower pay in part because of caregiver duties, motivation, or self-imposed bias.

But the fact is women and men have different and often unequal experiences at work.

In a Wall Street Journal Leadership summary of an extensive review of gender equality in the workforce, Dominic Barton of McKinsey writes:

Our latest research indicates, for example, that corporate America promotes men at 30% higher rates than women during their early career stages, and that entry-level women are significantly more likely than men to have spent five or more years in the same role.”

That’s not just unfair; it’s a big problem for our economy.

As explained last week, one of Vermont’s best paths to increasing state GDP is finding ways for women to participate in Vermont’s economy at an equal rate as men. That could generate an additional $3.8 billion for the state.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, talking about gender equality can alienate men or leave them feeling attacked. That’s not what we want.

We want people and businesses in Vermont to succeed. We want men and women to have the same opportunities for salary, mentorship, and career advancement. We want to grow the state’s economy. One of the fastest ways to do that is by talking about ways women can thrive at work and as entrepreneurs. It’s just good business.

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