A 2016 Status Report on Women changes the story

Change The Story VT, a multi-year initiative fueled by the Vermont Women’s Fund, the Vermont Commission on Women, and Vermont Works for Women, has released the first of a series of briefs called “2016 Status Report: Women, Work and Wages in Vermont” on the status of women in Vermont. Much of this data is not regularly collected or published. All of it is specific to Vermont, and all is critical – not just in what it reflects about women, but in its implications for Vermont’s economic future.

“The objective of Change The Story is to move the needle of women’s economic security faster,” shared Tiffany Bluemle, director of Change The Story VT (CTS). “This initial compilation of information 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.”

Cary Brown, executive director of the Vermont Commission on Women, and Bluemle presented the brief’s findings to members of the Vermont State Legislature. Among the brief’s highlights:

– Women are significantly more likely than men to live in poverty or economic insecurity, in large part because of the disproportionate rates at which 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.

“This brief and the overall CTS initiative is a prime example of how organizations can come together to leverage their impact in the state, as well as build a data-driven case for this important work,” Brown said.

Additional findings include:

– 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 across 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).

A copy of the report is available at changethestoryvt.org. Questions and inquiries can be directed to Cary Brown, Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women at cary.brown@vermont.gov or (802) 828-2840.

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