New Frontiers offers tips for bridging the gender gap

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Working women '06 stats

- 70 million women, or about 60 percent of the 118 million women aged 16 or older in the U.S., were part of the work force

- Women accounted for 46 percent of the U.S. work force

- Median weekly wages for women with full-time, salaried positions were $600. That's about 81 percent of men's median earnings, which were $743. For workers aged 16 to 24, women earned an average $395 a week, and men earned $418.

- In 2007, the most common occupation for women was secretary or administrative assistant - women made up 96.7 percent of that job force. Other leading occupations for women included registered nurses (91.7 percent), elementary and middle school teachers (80.9 percent), child care workers (94.6 percent) and cashiers (75.6 percent).

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

If you go

What: "The Glass Ceiling: Shattered or Galvanized" with Donna Howell, presented by New Frontiers for Girls and Women

When: Noon Thursday

Where: Rex's American Grill and Bar, in the Holiday Inn

Cost: TBD

Call: 879-9226

— There's been progress for women in the professional world since the 1980s, said Donna Howell, executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. There just hasn't been enough.

"There's been some progress, but not significant progress. There are certainly more women CEOs and presidents, but the percentage is very small compared to men," Howell said, describing the topic of a talk she'll give later this week.

Howell will outline the evolution of women in the work force Thursday with "The Glass Ceiling: Shattered or Galvanized," as part of the "Women, Wealth and Wisdom" series hosted by New Frontiers for Girls and Women. The organization, now in its 10th year, started when the Women's Foundation of Colorado broke down a community economic indicators report by gender.

"We found that single women with one child or two children weren't actually being paid a livable wage here in Routt or Moffat County," said Linda Hamlet, a founding board member for New Frontiers.

"Knowing that we had some really good local issues with statistical backing, our mission statement (became) improving economic self-sufficiency for girls and women," Hamlet said. New Frontiers offers programs for school-aged girls on self-empowerment and financial literacy, as well as a lecture series for adults.

Hamlet and Howell said the "glass ceiling" remains a relevant political issue and is one that could be combated with education on the characteristics and strategies of women who succeed in the corporate world.

"It's just something that I've been interested in for most of my career and something that I think is timely," Howell said.

Registration closes today for Howell's talk, as well as the 10th annual Girls to Women Conference, hosted by New Frontiers. The full-day event aimed at eighth-grade girls is scheduled for April 8 and will focus on possible career paths from communications to catering and health to hospitality, as well as offer workshops on healthy lifestyle choices, self-esteem and relationships.

With an average attendance of 130 girls and 100 community volunteers, the workshop stays true to New Frontiers' original goal - to empower and enrich Routt County women financially, mentally and physically.

"It's an ongoing problem today - it's very hard to have a livable wage in a resort community," Hamlet said about wage disparities.

"We really didn't want the curse of the Yampa Valley to be that you couldn't work and live here."

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204

or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com.

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