Business & Economy

Gender pay gap hurts Vermont’s economy, advocates say

Cary Brown
Cary Brown is the executive director of the Vermont Commission on Women. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
Women earn 84 cents for every dollar paid to men.

That statistic was the focal point of a press conference on Tuesday that culminated in a proclamation signed by Gov. Phil Scott recognizing “Equal Pay Day” in Vermont.

Cary Brown, the executive director of the Vermont Commission on Women, an advocacy group for gender parity explained that “if women’s wages were raised up to where men’s are, that would be about $5,565 extra dollars for every woman in Vermont, about a billion dollars in total to Vermont’s economy, which is around 3.3% of the state’s GDP.”

According to a new report, women are also lagging behind in leadership roles in the workplace and state government.

Michele Leber, chairwoman of the National Committee on Pay Equity, said the pay gap between men and women exists largely because of historical discrimination against women.

Women learn at an early age the distinction between the value of their work and that of a male counterpart, Leber said. Boys are generally paid more to mow a lawn than girls are paid to babysit children, she said.

That disparity continues through life, Leber said.

Eliminating the income disparity between men and women would reduce poverty in the state by 53 percent, Scott said.

The governor said his goal is to make Vermont’s workforce stronger and more diverse, and he’s “committed to this issue in practice and in policy.”

In practice, Scott has made an effort to fill positions in his administration with women. The governor has hired the highest percentage of women in the state’s history, at 43 percent.

The Vermont Legislature also has a higher than average ratio of women to men. Nationally, an average of 25 percent of state legislators are women. Vermont is second only to Nevada in the percentage of female lawmakers, with 39.4 percent and 39.7 percent, respectively, according to a report from Change the Story.

Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson said this represents an important step.

“I can’t wait for the day we stop counting,” Johnson said of her distinction, along with State Treasurer Beth Pearce, of being only the third woman to fill her position.

Pearce is only the 11th woman — out of 296 officers elected since 1778 — to be elected to statewide office in Vermont, according to a report from Change the Story.

Vermont and Mississippi are the only two states that have never elected a woman to Congress.

“I think we need more women in elected office across the state,” Pearce said. “I’m going to continue to work to make that happen.”

Wage gap worsens with age

It’s far more common for women today to fill elected positions than in years past, and the difference between what women and men earn has diminished over recent decades. As recently as 1980, women earned only 60 cents for every dollar American men earned, according to Census Bureau figures.

As a result, older women have less savings for retirement, Leber said.

This is a real problem in Vermont, Pearce said.

Vermont women are 80 percent more likely to live in poverty once they’ve retired, she said. Annual pensions for women are on average less than half of what retired men bring in, Pearce said.

“Right now, women do not have as much retirement security as men, and we need to change that,” Pearce said.

Vermonters ought to be able to find “dignity in retirement,” Pearce said, but as a result of historical forces many women “are put behind the eight-ball from the get go.”

Pearce and Johnson both urged women — especially young women — to run for elected office, as a path toward fixing this historical injustice.

They also said legislators currently in office are working toward the same end.

Legislative approaches

Johnson said lawmakers are taking a variety of approaches to brighten the economic future for women.

Child care is “a responsibility that falls largely on women,” Johnson said, and lawmakers are seeking to reduce that burden. They introduced H.10, legislation that would subsidize child care for low-income Vermonters, although the bill appears unlikely to advance this session.

Scott has also sought to appropriate $7.5 million in this year’s budget toward childcare subsidies.

Paid leave for parents, Johnson said, would also help families “with those kinds of issues that women, more often than not, must shoulder.”

Lawmakers sought to pass a family leave bill, H.196, that would have guaranteed most workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave. That bill, too, appears unlikely to be adopted this year.

Johnson said that domestic violence is another issue affecting women’s earning power. She pointed to another bill, H.422, that would take firearms out of the hands of some domestic abusers.

“This doesn’t specifically address the pay gap, but if women are not safe in their homes, achieving economic independence is difficult,” Johnson said.

Finally, Johnson said, lawmakers attempted this year to move forward legislation increasing Vermont’s minimum wage. Four separate bills were introduced, H.64, H.93, H.302 and S.40, but all are on hold until next year.

Women more frequently than men work in minimum wage service jobs, Johnson said.

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  • Lester French

    Are men being paid more than women working the same hours at the same job? From the reporting it would seem that lower paying jobs filled predominantly by women are being thrown into the mix. Are we looking at a comparison of “apples to apples” or a mix of”apples and oranges”?

  • John Klar

    I fully support equality for women, but I don’t get how legislating a wage equalization bill will “increase GDP”? Isn’t that a fallacy? Taking money from employers (or ultimately, their customers) to pay a higher wage will transfer wealth, not create it. Unless we are to make out-of-staters pay the entire increase, it will not cause a net increase in Vermont’s GDP. In fact, I don’t see how it would add a penny to our GDP.

  • John Bauer

    If raising the wages of women helps the economy, why does raising the minimum wage hurt the economy? Both require businesses to pay more for labor.

  • Neil Johnson

    Wow, just wow. Women are smart, capable and every bit as qualified as men. What I find interesting is the pay gap discussion. The state of Vermont has the pay figures for every employee and employer of the entire state. Yet, they have failed to demonstrate that ANYONE is paying women less than men. Why is that? Does the pay gap really t exist?

    Do we see women in the trades? Plumbers, carpenters? How about at UPS for deliveries? How about septic pumping? I don’t think in my 30 years of business I’ve seen a woman driving truck for Hartigan. Surely Hartigan isn’t sexist, they’ll hire any good driver. How many women have you seen collecting trash?

    Perhaps some families/women choose a life style that is more balanced so they can actually have some time with family?

    Men die 10 years before women. Your son is going to have a shorter life than your daughter by 10 years. I have yet to hear anyone speak about this. There is no war on women, men love women. We need to know the difference between propaganda and the truth.

    • chris wilmot

      He is also less likely to graduate high school or college and will earn less during his lifetime. It’s time for the feminist war on boys to end

    • Brian Vogel

      Neil, you nail the issue. The state has all the information–enough that it can apparently calculate that women are earning $0.84 for each $1.00 men are making. It is already illegal to pay women less than men for equal work. So where are all the lawsuits against employers for pay discrimination?

      There are only two possibilities–either the state is too lazy to prosecute employers for discrimination, or the gender wage gap does not exist.

  • James Rude

    When you only look at the aggregate numbers, the results really do not provide a reason why a “gap” exists. I have worked in Human Resources most of my profession life, and during the past 15 years as a compensation and performance management consultant. I have never experience a company differentiating job for women or job for men. The differences between the aggregate in pay occurs when tenure and life style choices, such as time on the job, type of position, part-time vs full-time commitment, etc. are factored in. When these factors are adjusted for actual pay, the difference shrink considerably.

  • Will Workman

    I can’t tell if the advocates of these programs are economically illiterate or just dishonest.

    Paying women more would add a billion to Vermont’s economy? Where will the money come from, will it fall from the sky? It’s just as accurate to say it would cost the state a billion dollars.

    But the real issue is that THERE IS NO GENDER PAY GAP. Women are paid less because they work less, that’s all. You might as well talk about the injustice of the part-time pay gap. Yes, they work less because they take time out of their careers, but that doesn’t demonstrate that society needs to pitch in to raise their kids so they can have careers. Either have their partners stay home (many men would be happy to) or just don’t have kids if your career is more important.

    If this fake injustice is the only issue the Vermont Commission on Women has to work on, it should be disbanded. It has outlived its usefulness.

    • chris wilmot

      Sad that these women openly lie to push a false narrative. They have no shame

    • Neil Johnson

      Many men would jump on the opportunity to stay home with kids. The whole idea of family planning has lost any meaning in todays government. Family planning for a government official is the state will provide all services for the family.

      Real family planning consists of: Do we have a stable relationship? Do we have a stable job? Do we have a plan to care for this child? How are we going to instill values for our child? How are we going to nurture and discipline our child?

      Family planning is NOT, Where do I sign up for welfare benefits? How can I get free healthcare? How can I get free baby sitters? How can I get somebody else to raise my child?

      Children need love and affection from their parents. They need boundaries. Despite what some in government believe, the family is the best known way to raise children, not Vermont State Government.

  • chris wilmot

    At what point does this lie end? The “wage gap” is based on the average wages of each gender as a whole. Of course women earn less as a whole- women get pregnant and many simply are house wives.
    If you go by workplaces rather than averages you will find women out earning men drastically in fields. Like nursing where %92 are women

    • John Odum

      That’s a big part of the point; women are expected to take all the time off for starting and raising a family, and it hardwires them into a systemic disadvantage. Family leave laws would allow for men to share that burden, which would have a cascading effect on changing the cultural expectations. The home work would start equalizing, and the pay gap would start narrowing.

      • Neil Johnson

        Women aren’t “Expected” to do this! A couple chooses how they are going to raise their children. I’ve known men to stay home with children, often if the woman has a higher paying job.

        Children require time, effort and love. When are highest priority is making money and not raising a family with values, we get people who will do anything for power and money in higher numbers.

        Why would anyone want to give up their children to strangers their whole childhood. Families across that state are saying, look my kids are important to me. I’m going to raise them, out of love, joy and concern. Wasn’t that the whole reason we actually gave poor women money to raise children?

      • Will Workman

        Not true. Men could do that right now. It’s a cultural expectation that women should stay at home with the kids, even if they would rather be making a pitch to the Board of Directors, and men should sweat it out at the office, even if they’d rather be dropping the kids off at pre-school. But that’s a problem to be solved around the kitchen table, not in the workplace. Companies are doing what they should be: giving equal pay for equal work.
        Not everything you want to accomplish requires the government to subsidize you.

      • chris wilmot

        Nothing is expected of them.

  • Skyler Bailey

    In fairness, Vermont has only elected one new person to congress in the past 20 years (Rep. Welch), and only three new people in the past 40 years.

    • Neil Johnson

      Which they spin to push a narrative of Vermonters being sexist. see if you read Rules for Radicals, this is all part of the game plan You MUST divide in order for you to gain power and money in their play book.

      I would have voted for ANY woman, ANY person who ran against ANY of our federal representatives. We have a very, very stagnant pond.

      I would love to hear from women who think or feel they are being paid less then men. So far mostly men have commented on this.

  • Will Workman

    Also, 94% of all workplace deaths are men. When are we going to establish a Vermont Council on Men to stop corporate America’s “war on men”?

    • Neil Johnson

      90% of all homeless people are MEN……..

      But we don’t hear much on this either do we? Where are the women willing to provide shelter for these men?

      This whole article is so filled with propaganda, out right lies and divisiveness, when in reality men cherish women and some people are making it out like there is war on women. Men inherently cherish women, this homeless statistic proves that point loud and clear.

  • Peter Chick

    Why not lower male wages?

    • Andrew Cooper

      Nowadays, when you control for job title and experience, women are actually paid about the same as men. The difference in average income, when *not* controlling for job title and experience, is instead attributable to women not tending to advance to higher-paying job titles as often than men.

      Here’s the source: http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/gender-pay-gap

      So, for women currently entering the workforce, seeking income inequality doesn’t look like paying women more, across the board, but rather supporting and enabling them to advance more often in their careers. So, for example, policies like paid family leave for *both* partners, so the woman isn’t disproportionately affected if a couple chooses to have a child.

      Importantly, however, women *historically* were in fact paid less than men, even for the same job title and experience. So, even though we currently have it sorted out pretty well, for women just entering the workforce, older women who have been in it before this time have accumulated far less wealth than older men. As such, they need more monetary support than younger women, and more monetary support than older men, in the mean.

  • Daniel Carver

    Who is the Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Men? Or does such a commission not exist? Point: Here is a fact driven specific area of discrimination.
    Everything in this article points to an old saying, “When liars figure, figures lie.” The real answer is in the details, but the details aren’t shown because they don’t support the lie.
    Question: How many teachers contracts state women must be paid less than men? Please provide specific details where women are in the same position with the same company, and, all factors being equal with the exception of gender, the woman is paid less than the man. Once shown, we have a problem to address.

    • Andrew Cooper

      I’ve addressed the call for statistics controlled for position and seniority, above, in my reply to Neil Johnson’s comment, which is in turn a reply to Pam Ladds’ top-level comment. If you search for “opportunity gap”, you should be able to find it. Rather than copying and pasting the same reply to multiple threads, I suggest we continue the discussion, there.

      • Neil Johnson

        If you search instead for how to make it to the top you will find it, the rules are the same for everyone. You can search for your “opportunity gap” too, but you’ll find if you ask any women who made it to the top, the opportunity is there for everyone.

        In order to be the very best in anything, be it athlete, business, music, writing, whatever the field. Very often you must sacrifice much to reach this goal. Many rightly decide the cost is too great, money is NOT what defines a person and family is more important.

        Men and women at top levels know this to be true. The business world churns through men and women with abandon, asking them to prioritize for the business. When you want to be the best, you simply have to be the best.

        It never has been a 40 hour week, it has never been without sacrifice nor will it ever be without sacrifice. For those who want the prize, good or bad it is there for the taking.

        • Andrew Cooper

          Sure, that’s all fine. I don’t know what that has to do with what I’m saying, though.

  • Gary Dickinson

    Interesting that all the commenters on here are men…

  • Pam Ladds

    Fascinating Gentlemen! An article about women and the wage gap that over a lifetime leaves many women in poverty and you all rush in to defend it. 16 comments before this one and all of you denying the reality of many women. No curiosity, no fact checking. Did any of you bother to ask the women in your lives personally or in your workplaces if this is their experience? Immediate reaction dismissing how this could not possibly be true! So here is a suggestion – talk to the women you know and the women you meet – including those in service industries and health care. Talk to the teachers of your kids. Talk to those who provide child care. Check your male privilege at the door and for once listen before needing to deny the experience of many, many women. Finally ask yourselves if this is the world that you want for your daughters and grand daughters.

    • chris wilmot

      It’s based on studies that have been debunked nemerous times. Enough with the hysteria

    • Neil Johnson

      You’ll notice we are all stating that women should be paid as much as men. We are saying that is happening NOW. Anyone who’s commented on this site would surely defend any woman to be paid the same amount.

      My boss more times than not was a woman, I’ve had my hat handed to my by other women in the same field. We are looking for actual evidence not propaganda of which would expect the same of our wives and daughters. There is nobody suggesting women should be paid less than men.

      Please leave propaganda in the trash bin. If there is a problem men want to solve it. We can not change the past, so please don’t ask us to do that. We can only change what is happening today. Show us a pay discrepancy and I bet you see it remedied immediately!

      • Andrew Cooper

        I think it’s important to acknowledge objections to only talking about uncontrolled differences in median pay. Indeed, if we control for job title and experience, the pay gap actually largely disappears (cf. http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/gender-pay-gap.

        However, the “opportunity gap” remains: “At the start of their careers, men and women tend to work at similar job levels… Over the course of their career, both men and women move into manager- or supervisor-level roles, and eventually to director- and executive-level roles. But men appear to move into these roles at significantly higher rates than women” (ibid.).

        This gap in rate of advancement is what drives the uncontrolled difference in median pay: “Men are 85 percent more likely than women to be VPs or C-Suite Execs by mid-career, and 171 percent more likely to hold those positions late in their career. Conversely, by the time they reach age 60, more than 60 percent of women are still working in individual contributor roles, but less than 45 percent of men are still in this type of job” (ibid.).

        As such, if activists were suggesting that women simply be paid more, across the board, it would indeed be the wrong approach, seeing as women are (currently) paid less mostly just because they work at lower levels of responsibility, in the mean.

        However, instead, this article is mostly talking about addressing the opportunity gap (even if they don’t explicitly frame it as such), by advocating for things like family leave for *both* parents (so it doesn’t just fall on the woman, thereby holding her career back). It’s also talking about acknowledging the impact of the cumulative, *historical* wage gap (i.e. even when controlled) which has put older women significantly behind.

        • Neil Johnson

          Well I’m glad, my bosses, sisters, mother, mother in-law and many close friends are not taking this advice or thought, otherwise they wouldn’t have been successful.

          Everyone knows starting your own business is the quickest way to the top (except Vermont Government) and women along with men are doing it in droves.

          Megyn Kelly, what did she chose? Margaret Thatcher? Madeline Quinine? Marisa Meyer? Who was the gal in Vermont that invented the jog bra? Isn’t she a billionaire? Opra? You’ll soon find women with the same life expectancies as men who follow these career paths. Women are smart, capable and every bit as good (and bad) as men. From your post I gather that you agree they have equaled in all other areas? So are you suggesting there is now select discrimination at the top? That’s garbage, as all these women have demonstrated. Please stop making excuses, maybe the women are SMARTER and don’t want to sacrifice everything the almighty dollar, it they want it it’s there for the taking.

          • Andrew Cooper

            I’m not giving advice.

            I’m saying the observed difference in average income levels is attributable to men advancing in their careers more often, not them being paid more than women for the same job title and same level of experience.

            What advice are you hearing me give?

          • Neil Johnson

            Woman have excelled on all levels, there isn’t anything a man’s done that a woman hasn’t. They’ve lead entire countries, gone to space. There is no wage discrepancy in today’s world. Using your average income levels means nothing, a basic course in statistics would serve those well who present this in their deposition wage discrepancy.

            You are suggesting to women that it is sexism in the work place that is keeping them from success. In today’s world that is blatantly false. Proven by women every day of the week.

    • Steve Baker

      I think you’re wrong, I believe in equal pay for equal experience, time on the job, and output of productivity.
      What do you say when leading advocates such as Senator Warren and President Obama both paid women far less than men?
      Do you think the methodology of figuring the amount may be incorrect or are those two named above just extreme hypocrites?

    • Will Workman

      “… all of you denying the reality of many women.” There are no individual realities, there is just reality. Woman are paid equally for the same work. That has been the law for 40+ years. A few companies ignore the law, and they invariably end up in court.

  • rosemariejackowski

    One of the big issues that is often ignored is the issue of Court Ordered Child Support. In Vermont, and many other states, it is not enforced. This is one of the leading causes of family poverty.

  • ruth sproull

    Like Pam, I found the cynicism of the men speaking here striking and disheartening.

    • Skyler Bailey

      It is not cynical merely to notice when statistics are being misused. You simply cannot take the aggregate wages for the sexes, and use them to create a narrative of broad, systematic injustice. Are there any women out there wrongly being paid less than their male co-workers for the same work, when they all work the same number of hours and have been there the same amount of time? I am certain that there are. But that is already illegal. If the proposal were to make it easier for women in that situation to report it and have action taken to enforce the law, that would be one thing. But what initiatives like this would actually do is make it so that women would get paid MORE than men for the exact same work to somehow make up for the fact that Bill Gates is a man. It is instituting broad, systematic injustice to “fix” misused statistics. And as the wealth distribution widens (with the super-rich being mainly men); women will have to be paid progressively more than their male co-workers to “fix” the increasing disparity.

      • Andrew Cooper

        Here’s the statistics, controlled for seniority, job title, etc.: http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/gender-pay-gap

        As you’re no doubt presuming, this indeed reduces the pay inequality substantially. However, a substantial “opportunity gap” remains:

        “Our data show that at the start of their careers, men and women tend to work at similar job levels, most often entering the workforce at the individual contributor level. Over the course of their career, both men and women move into manager- or supervisor-level roles, and eventually to director- and executive-level roles. But men appear to move into these roles at significantly higher rates than women… Men are 85 percent more likely than women to be VPs or C-Suite Execs by mid-career, and 171 percent more likely to hold those positions late in their career. Conversely, by the time they reach age 60, more than 60 percent of women are still working in individual contributor roles, but less than 45 percent of men are still in this type of job.”

        If men and women are starting at the same job levels, and are indeed equal, they should progress at the same rate. However, men are advanced much more often than women, leading to the pay gap.

        That’s an issue. The causes of this are outlined in the main article that we’re both commenting on: Women are taught not to ask for promotions, are less likely to be given them when they do ask, and have less time to devote to their careers because they are expected to take care of children (and men, via housework, emotional labor, etc.).

        As such, unless you think that women aren’t getting promoted is simply 100% their own fault–some defect in their gender such that they’re too timid, can’t see the big picture, aren’t decisive and strategic, etc.–then it makes sense for us to provide supports in these areas.

        The outcome of that should be that women are able to advance at similar rates to men, and then both the controlled and uncontrolled income gap will disappear, entirely.

    • chris wilmot

      It gets old being berated by misinformed people who have been conditioned to parrot false feminist propaganda

  • Neil Johnson

    So take this example of Warren’s salaries and what men and women are paid. I ask is she discriminating? If so changes need to be made. Or do different jobs have different pay? How can someone in government who is advocating for equal pay get away with what this story is suggesting? Does this make any sense? See….something is not right. Men want equal pay for women.

    http://freebeacon.com/issues/elizabeth-warrens-female-staffers-made-71-less-male-staffers-earnings-2016/

    So is Warren actually paying women 70% less than men, if that’s the case, fine her, sent her to court, this is blatant sexual discrimination.

  • Susanrae

    Well, very interesting! When I graduated from college with a BS in Economics, I worked for a Mass. company. Don’t remember my wages but when I left (to have a baby) they changed my job description so they could hire a man at a higher wage. This happened my whole career as a CPA. One particular company – an asset management firm – had 2 men and 1 woman as property managers – paid both men higher wages than the one woman. When I questioned this on behalf of the woman I was told that both men were married (the woman was also) and one had 2 kids (she did too) and the other was expecting his first so they deserved a higher wage. And the beat goes on and on and on. . . . .

    • Skyler Bailey

      And I presume that you then reported all of these companies and asset-management firms for their illegal practices?

      • Andrew Cooper

        What are you getting at? If she didn’t report them, does that mean she deserves the inequality?

        When people are discussing whether racism is real, and a black person says people keep calling them racial slurs, do you ask if they always report them?

        • Skyler Bailey

          Of course not! Why would you presume such a thing? I was actually curious whether or not she had reported the illegal behavior, and if so, what the response was.

          • Andrew Cooper

            I based my interpretation of your response on a few cues, such as the general skepticism of the subject you’ve demonstrated in other comments, and the fact that you questioned Susanrae’s experience, rather than acknowleding it.

            When we think someone is responsible for their own mistreatment, or misperceived it, we dismiss their words and immediately pivot to questioning what they did to cause it, whether it actually happened, and why they didn’t fix it.

            Please consider how perfectly well Chris Wilmot’s reply, above, resonates with this interpretation.

          • Skyler Bailey

            I was curious to find out several details: 1) when these incidents occurred, 2) whether or not they were reported, and 3) if they were reported, how those reports were received/handled. I am certainly not intimating that these things didn’t happen, but if a company breaks the law and nobody reports it, then it is not systematic injustice that causes the lack of enforcement, but lack of reporting. If there was inadequate enforcement despite the reporting, then that would be something real to address. My skepticism does not extend to Susanrea’s reported experience, but is reserved solely for policy initiatives derived from demonstrably incorrect use of statistics.

          • Andrew Cooper

            I believe that you believe that these things happened. I also agree that enforcement wants reporting. What I’m questioning is why you brought up reporting, at all.

            Susanrae’s message wasn’t, “These things happened, and I’m upset that there was no enforcement”. Rather, it was simply, “These things happened”.

            To me, when someone complains of mistreatment, and someone asks whether they reported it, I see it as either a) patronizing, because of course you should report it, and why would you assume they didn’t report it, or don’t know they should, and/or b) blaming the victimized population for the systemic problem.

            If a woman says, “some sexist things happened”, and then a man says, “sure, but did you report it?”, that looks like, “sexism happens, sure, but the only reason it continues to happen is that women drop the ball on reporting it”. That is, it suggests the continuation of sexism is fundamentally women’s fault and women’s responsibility, when of course, it’s first and foremost men’s fault and responsibility, since we’re the ones discriminating.

            (For the avoidance of confusion, if you’d like to think of “sexism” as “going both ways”, that’s fine; in which case, pretend instead of “sexism” I’m saying “men discriminating against women on the basis of their sex”).

            I don’t think you’re doing this consciously, any more than when I used to do this, myself. Indeed, like you, I honestly thought I was being helpful.

            However, what I’ve learned is that a more helpful and considerate response is, “I’m really sorry that happened. That is not okay,” period. And then if you honestly believe they didn’t report it, or need help with that, you can say, “I’m assuming you already know this, but if there’s any way I can help, please let me know. For example, I’d be happy to help you report this. I know a lot of people don’t report these things, because it’s stressful, but I want to help make sure this doesn’t continue to happen to others”.

            It’s the difference between acknowledging someone’s experiences and validating their feelings and offering support, vs. coming off as insensitively interrogating them, and even blaming them. I don’t think you mean to do that, but that’s how it can come off.

            I’m not lumping you in the same bucket as Chris Wilmot, but surely you can see how his comment, above, in fact *explicitly* does this. And, importantly, whether that’s what you meant to say, that’s *explicitly* the sort of message he took away from it. So there’s some truth here.

        • chris wilmot

          It’s illegal behavior. If it was never reported it brings to question the validity of the claims

  • Great, let’s try this first with state employees. We can remove all job grades, seniority and time in grade considerations.

  • Jimmy Tomczak

    Money is a horrible way to tally injustice and is the source of all corruption.

  • Steve Baker

    $.84 on $1.00, although that doesn’t sound fair it’s much better than liberal progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren’s staff.
    By the way, is there an Executive Director of the Vermont Commission for Men?
    Why does the state waste money on positions that represent one group or another? Why wouldn’t pay equity be handled within the labor or commerce commission?

    • Andrew Cooper

      We have different initiatives for different groups because different groups have different needs. For example, veterans (just as an example) often need medical, psychological, and career-related supports which non-veterans, in the mean, do not.

      No one objects to having special programs for veterans, because we recognize that they have particular needs, and we think it’s important to meet those needs. No one says, “Hey, where’s our initiative for non-veterans, for balance?”. No one says, “Hey, instead of Veterans’ Affairs, let’s have People’s Affairs”.

      But this isn’t specific to veterans. For example, no one objects to having special programs for the elderly, for children, students, and so forth, for a hundred different things. However, for some reason, many *do* object having special programs for women. But why? Do we think they don’t *have* different needs? Or do we perhaps think it’s not important to meet them?

      This article lists several, well-established issues which women face, which non-women, in the mean, do not. It’s important to meet those needs, just like it’s important to meet any person’s needs, so it’s wholly appropriate to have a commission dedicated to that.

  • Billy Hill

    Women live on average 5 years longer then men, no one ever mentions this INEQUALITY.

    • Andrew Cooper

      Thanks for bringing it up. How would you like to address it?

      • Will Workman

        Less time at the office would be a good place to start.

        • Andrew Cooper

          That sounds related, definitely. How would you like to make that happen? Can we do that, and also address women’s needs, too?

  • Faye Longo

    The largest reason for the wage gap is not simply that men are men and women are women, it is not just a gender issue anymore, it is a domestic role issue.
    As stated here; women are more likely than men to stay home with a sick child, there are more single moms than there are single dads, putting more women in the position of having to find reliable childcare so they can work.
    Women historically miss more days at work than men, making women less likely to get pay raises or promotions.We are the ones missing work to shuttle and care for our children. This is a reality for women that many men never have to face and employers simply don’t care about. This is also something that the state alone, cannot fix. Yes, current legislation will help but not if it doesn’t go anywhere!
    At some point, it has to fall on employers and communities to realize the plight of women and work with us. Being a single mom, I know first hand the terrible feeling of having to choose between losing my job or caring for my child, and I have lost jobs in the past because I chose to care for my child.
    Employers need reliable workers but sick children need a caregiver.

    • Neil Johnson

      I am sorry for your situation. I can’t imagine being a single parent, more so if you don’t have any child support from the father, family or friends to help support. It’s a very difficult situation, two people have a child, break up and what happens? Most of the time people are on the edge supporting a household with two incomes, let alone two households with the same income. It’s the fastest way to poverty for both parents, we see it every day in real estate, it’s so sad. I can’t tell you how many men I’ve seen, who had to move in with their parents so they could actually make child support payments, I saw it frequently as a manager.

      Many men who have fought for custody, never got it. What is the ratio of single parent men to women who have custody of children? This should be equalized, I suspect it’s probably heavily skewed.

      This is a different problem than wage inequality, it is the problem of a family that has fallen apart. I am truly sorry about this, it is not anyone’s plan. It’s a huge tragedy for everyone.

      My views changed over the years, from not understanding the significance of public assistance (to raise a child) to understanding how important it is for a child’s early development. I know if I had a child, and split from the mother I would have wanted to raise the child, realizing this most likely would not happen in todays society.

  • Mary Alice Bisbee

    As i write this, there are already 37 commentators, mostly male, who seem quite upset about gender disparity in wages and questioning the very validity of some of the statements. As an 80 year old woman who grew up earning 25 cents/hour babysitting and only $50/week, no benefits at a major Boston hospital with no benefits in 1958, I would like to interject that the larger concern about income inequality for both men and women may be more to blame than just gender inequality.
    My expectations as a young college graduate in 1958 was that anything I earned was just “gravy”. I expected my husband to be the primary bread winner, and as an MIT engineer, he certainly was. However, I never intended to be divorced by age 35 with two children, no alimony and he keeping the house and half grown children and leaving me with practically nothing!
    There are many twists and turns in life and rather than having men and women fighting against each other perhaps we need to work together to fight the corporations and millionaires and billionaires who make and implement most of the rules.
    I now live in subsidized housing and receive food stamps although I hold a Masters Degree in Human Services. We need to work on income inequality between the sexes and among the so called job creators, the very wealthy, who are free to give donations to wonderful charities instead of paying their fair share of taxes. And do we really think that all the super wealthy newcomers to the state are going to leave if they are required to pay more taxes? Maybe the governor needs to answer this question….

    • chris wilmot

      We are upset misinformed people like you continue pushing this false narrative. Enough with the endless male bashing

      • Pam Ladds

        Did you actually read what she wrote?? Your comment Mr Wilmot is plain rude. Ms Bisbee wrote from her own experience, supported males equally and held Corporations and institutions accountable. She pointed out correctly the existence of classism and workforce discrimination. A sad commentary!

        • chris wilmot

          She wrote of personal experiences from the 50’s. It’s 2017. one persons alleged experience decades ago does not give you the right to berate males and make absurd claims.
          Sorry- your feminist propaganda shaming tactics don’t work with me. The “wage gap” has been debunked over and over. I am sick of vindictive women complaining about fictional problems
          Enough with the endless anti male nonsense.

          • Andrew Cooper

            She graduated in 1958. She divorced at least a decade later. Here in 2017, she lives in subsidized housing and uses food stamps, and I bet she didn’t immediately go there from her previous social class.

            She was alive before 1958, and existed for times in between. Indeed, I bet she’s lived her entire life. She’s not a snapshot in time, from the 50s, anymore than you’re a snapshot from some point in your own past.

          • chris wilmot

            She is not in the workforce and clearly-like you/ does not understand the notion of a wage gap is simply false

          • Mary Alice Bisbee

            Thank you for all your writings defending my status! I happen to spend quite a bit of time at the VT State House as an advocate and am neither trying to “male bash” whatever that is, but to show that there is quite a bit of income inequality for males, females, transgender,, LGBT, Queer and questioning and everyone who is not rich! I was overmedicated and considered mentally ill at the time my children were young and along with me, my husband essentially gave my children permission to give up on their mother. I am also concerned about the inflationary trend that makes any money I earned as “gravy” back in the 50’s and all the child caregiving I did prior to my nervous breakdown and subsequent PTSD, reason for me and subsequent unfortunate others, M or F, who have to live on what once seemed an adequate living amount.

      • Andrew Cooper

        A woman who says, “the larger concern about income inequality for both men and women may be more to blame than just gender inequality” is not performing “endless male bashing”.

        Rather, in pivoting the discussion away from gender inequality and toward socioeconomic inequality, she’s in fact diminishing the importance of discussion about gender.

        • chris wilmot

          When your “discussion” is based on repeatedly debunked studies it is endless male bashing. We have several federal laws that already mandate equal pay- have for years.
          Enough with the anti male nonsense

          • Andrew Cooper

            This comment thread is indeed a “discussion”. We’re discussing the article. When I put your words in quotes, I was simply quoting you, not mocking you.

            I’m not referencing any studies, here (I do on other comments, but this was my first one), and neither is the woman to whom you replied. This discussion involves many participants, and it’s counterproductive to lump everyone together into two, adversarial, groups.

            Indeed, the woman you’ve replied to is acknowledging the conflict, and rather than picking sides, is suggesting we all agree to blame this on the rich, instead of gender.

          • chris wilmot

            You assume a problem exists when the facts show that is false.
            Blaming the rich for what had always been a false narrative is simply more misdirected anger based on lies

          • Andrew Cooper

            I’m neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the woman to whom you replied. I’m merely pointing out that she’s not bashing men.

  • Neil Johnson

    Want to broach some controversial ideas nobody wants to discuss and happens on a VERY regular basis?

    1) A man and women in a consensual intimate relationship. Man does not want children, woman does, becomes pregnant as she forgot to take her pills. Man is at her whim, must pay child support and has NO input (other than the obvious) of weather to bring a child into this world. Many, many, many young people were never “planning” on having children. It is a unilateral decision made by the woman.

    2) Many single women are bringing children into this world with instant poverty and no stable family. Why is this? We have sex education on every corner. Birth control can be easily obtained at every convenience store and doctors office, for little or no money. So why are people choosing to bring children into this world, when they don’t even have control of their own life? It’s no longer 1950, there should be no child brought into this world that’s not planned for, loved and cherished. Women are smart, capable and educated, why is this continuing?

    We need to work together. We need to be responsible for our own actions, eggs and sperm. There is a reason science and religion agree on most all areas of sexuality. It is a powerful, beautiful, bonding, loving and life changing event which so often is motivated by selfish pleasures. Some things we just can’t fix, we can’t wave a wand and everything is all better.

    • Steve Baker

      Very controversial, you’re talking about one’s “Life Choices” and being individually accountable for them.

      • Neil Johnson

        I wasn’t sure this was an acceptable thing to suggest in our state.

        • Steve Baker

          Generally it’s not acceptable to post but it must’ve slipped bye. We have laws in place for equal employment, why in Vermont especially is it hard to “follow the law”

  • Steve Baker
  • David Dempsey

    The article says that “if women’s wages were raised up to where men’s are, that would be about $5,565 extra dollars for every women in Vermont…..”. I assume that it should say for every working women in Vermont. There are around 200,000 women of working age (18-66) in Vermont. I don’t know how many of them work, so for arguments sake I’ll say around 75%. If 150,000 working women in Vermont made an average of $5,565 more than they are now, the increased spending for labor in Vermont would be around $834 million. Since these are jobs that already exist, there would be no increase in output of goods and services. If a companies revenues remain the same, and the labor costs go up $5,565 for each women employed by the company, where is the $834 million going to come from? Companies will have to increase prices or will be forced to go out of business. My point is that some of the facts and figures used in this article are dubious at best.

  • Deborah Wright

    Women having children have made their choice. Raising children. If you want a career, do not become pregnant. Most men will never take over 50% of childrearing, bosses will always reduce the pay of the employee who is less productive, which means time at the jobsite. I had children, worked as I could best do both, with my husband taking on much of the burden in my children’s early years, as a stay-at-home parent. A tough choice, but necessary to raise our children. I waited for career until they were older and politics after they were grown. Organically, men can not bear children. This is nature. If women fight to do both, children will suffer.