Vermont Works for Women and six community partners used the Labor Day holiday to launch a campaign to support women in the workforce.
The campaign is called #MakeWorkWorkForUs.
“We are really hoping this campaign brings together policy makers, employers, community members, to recognize what is facing women across Vermont,” said Rhoni Basden, executive director for Vermont Works for Women. “What are the barriers to women going back to work, re-entering work and starting work?”
Basden said the number one barrier is finding stable childcare.
“Eighty percent of women who left the workforce during the pandemic left because of childcare issues or taking care of their family at home,” Basden said.
Right now a lot of childcare positions in the state are held by women.
“Those were positions that were really supporting our essential workers that needed to be in the schools or in the hospitals,” Basden said. “And yet they needed to be there to support the children.”
Vermont Works for Women also tries to land women opportunities in labor and construction, fields mostly dominated by men.
“By doing a gender supported training program in construction you walk out with certifications to really walk out on a training site,” Basden said.
Meg Smith is the Director of the Vermont Women’s Fund, one of the partners in the campaign.
“The Vermont Women’s Fund funds programs and organizations that help advance women mostly through financial literacy and workforce development,” Smith said.
Smith said Vermont’s workforce is aging, and it’s vital to support women now and in the future.
“We all bring a wide point of view, so women in the workforce just makes us a strong base,” Smith said.
In March of 2021, just over 6,000 Vermont women filed for unemployment.