"Life isn't a balancing act, it's a matter of priorities."
That was the message Leslie Stiles, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, offered to members of the Women's Business Forum in Doylestown earlier this month.
Stiles spoke about the status of Pennsylvania women and how to access all the resources available to women business owners. She encourages all women-owned businesses to register with the state (www.pcw.state.pa.us) so they can get their share of state contracts.
Among the statistics Stiles presented were:
- - How few women are still in top spots of influence - only 14.6 percent of the state legislature is women, which puts Pennsylvania 47th out of all 50 states.
- - That the pay gap will take another 50 years to close. "Women work an extra three months each year to make the same as men," she said.
- - That "it is still legal to ask women if they are married and have kids when they apply for a job."
- Stiles added that having women on corporate boards offers many benefits to companies and their stakeholders — those with the most women on the board saw 42 percent higher return on sales and 66 percent higher return on capital.
Stiles also heads the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women, which produces brochures about "Legendary Ladies in Pennsylvania." Call 717-787-8128 to get your copy. Also available is the Status of Pennsylvania Women Report 2009.
The Women's Business Forum offers free monthly meetings to help women build their businesses. For more information, visit www.womensbusinessforum.org.