Employment’s glass ceiling needs to just disappear

Women have been in the workforce for decades in one capacity or another, but often have been in traditional roles, and when they did manage to break the “glass ceiling,” their paychecks weren’t always as big as their male counterparts’ take-home pay.

Women in Michigan still earn just 80 cents for each dollar a man earns and comprise just over 30% of Michigan business owners, according to data from Status of Women in the States.

The issue has been at the forefront in the Marquette area.

In May, Innovate Marquette SmartZone held a Women in Entrepreneurship panel discussion at Barrel + Beam in Marquette Township where local women entrepreneurs discussed their business journeys.

On Monday, state Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, and state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak — who chair the Progressive Women’s Caucus Women in the Workforce Task Force — gathered local businesswomen at the Delft Bistro in Marquette to talk about their experiences.

They came from diverse business backgrounds, including a bakery, a restaurant, a mine and even The Mining Journal.

Discussed at the forum was the fact that women attend college and start businesses, but business owners still tend to be male. There are more female doctors and lawyers than in the past, but in construction and the trades, they particularly are underrepresented.

What many people might not realize is that families that choose to have two incomes have more spending power when both workers are paid fairly.

If nothing else, women want the satisfaction of being able to reach career goals in the same vein as men.

Madeline Goodman, owner and operator of MadGoodies Studio, said at Monday’s event that she tries to foster collaborative, supportive relationships within her business and with others.

Competition has its place, but often women need the support of other women in similar business situations.

Cambensy and McMorrow hope to hear about women’s business issues across Michigan, with McMorrow posting a launch video soliciting input from women.

Women in business have made many strides in recent years, but those efforts need to keep being pushed forward so women — and the men who benefit from their increased equality — can fully realize their potential.

The glass ceiling not only needs to be broken, it needs to be smashed.