Women in leadership

Kunin, Gamache highlight need for female officials

Elaine Ezerins

By Elaine Ezerins

Staff Writer

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‘If we’re not at the table, we’re on the menu.’

- Gov. Madeleine Kunin

 

ST. ALBANS — Of the eight Vermont cities that elect mayors, St. Albans is currently the only one with a female leader. This gender ratio can be applied to towns as well, with one in every eight selectboard seats filled by a woman in Franklin County and Alburgh.

These statistics, displaying the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions at the local level, were highlighted in Change the Story VT’s 2017 status report, Vermont Women and Leadership, released this week.

Change The Story VT is a multi-year initiative by the Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women and Vermont Works for Women, to align philanthropy, policy, and programs to significantly improve women’s economic status in the state.

The report was a topic of discussion at the Women United’s event, titled Women’s Leadership in Public Office, at the Main Street Landing Film House in Burlington Wednesday night. The speakers, including Governor Madeleine Kunin and St. Albans City Mayor Liz Gamache, explored the topic of women’s empowerment and financial stability and how they are improved through the work and careers of female public officials.

“A young woman wrote me an email the other day,” said Kesha Ram, a former state representative from Chittenden County, at the event. “She said, ‘When you speak, I feel represented.’”

Ram cited this as one of her reasons for getting into politics.

“It’s important for the people that represent our community to bring forward perspectives and experiences that are representative of community members,” said Gamache, after the event.

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