Vermont Works for Women released a report on Tuesday, April 30 at the Vermont State House in Montpelier, revealing that many young women across the state consider themselves ill-equipped and under-prepared for the challenges of school, work, career, economic independence, and adulthood.
The report, which incorporates national research and references best practices, is entitled, “ENOUGH SAID – Young Women Talk about School, Work and Becoming Adults: Why We Should Listen and What We Can Do.” It is the result of in-depth interviews, surveys, and listening to more than 210 young women and girls, ages 15-25, from 28 communities, Brattleboro to St. Johnsbury, the majority from families of limited financial means.
Download the summary or the full report, which examines how well we’re preparing young women, who are twice as likely to live in poverty as their male counterparts, to make informed, deliberate choices about education and work and to shoulder the financial responsibilities of adulthood.
The report provides a qualitative snapshot of the current concerns that young women in Vermont hold, which focused in these primary areas:
- lack of practical skills related to personal finance
- fears around how to live independently
- relational aggression among female peers
- few personal allies or networks to provide support
- minimal exposure to a broad range of careers and professional female role models
- limited expectations for work that taps into talent and passion
Responding to these findings, more than 25 business, government and community leaders from across the state have committed to participate in a newly formed Task Force on Young Women and the Economy, understanding the vital relationship between the work/career success of young women and the state’s economic potential.
Former Ambassador Linda Tarr-Whelan, of Burlington, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and author of the award-winning book, Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World, will chair the task force. She will be assisted by vice chairs: Cary Brown, Executive Director, Vermont Commission on Women; Joyce Judy, President, Community College of Vermont; and Barbara Murphy, President, Johnson State College.
The task force will convene for the first time in late May with a clear six-month charge to develop a series of “commitments and partnerships.” More specifically, the group will identify effective efforts already in place; determine where combined and complimentary resources and expertise can address the needs articulated by these young women; and recommend strategic investments in programming, or changes in policy or priorities. The group’s commitments will be announced publicly in December 2013 before the start of the next legislative session.
“ENOUGH SAID has hit a nerve with both men and women in leadership roles across the state,” said Tiffany Bluemle, Executive Director, Vermont Works for Women, the task force convener, “and we look forward to working with the task force in the coming months. Our focus on young women shouldn’t be interpreted to suggest that boys or young men don’t face many of the same challenges. But the choices that young women make determine their future earning potential – and, as the report makes clear, women in Vermont and in the United States, across age and educational levels, are nearly twice as likely as men to live in poverty. Vermont will only reach its full economic potential if all Vermonters – including women and girls – can live up to theirs.”
(Hear more from Tiff Bluemle in this VPR interview with Mitch Wertlieb.)
To find out more about how you can become part of The 50% Solution, contact Tiffany Bluemle via email or call 802.655.8900.
This report was researched and written by Vermont Works for Women with support from the Vermont Women’s Fund, the Serena Foundation, and Bari and Peter Dreissigacker, our strong partners in understanding and addressing the needs of women and girls.
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