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Our Vision

Economic equality, literacy, impact, opportunity and stability for every woman in Tennessee.

Our Mission

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is an economic advocate for women.

Its purpose is to assess the economic status of women in Tennessee in order to develop and advocate for solutions that will address their economic needs and promote economic autonomy. The Council's areas of study include, but are not limited to: employment policies and practices, educational needs and opportunities, child care, property rights, health care, domestic relations, and the effect of federal and state laws on women.


Violence Against Women Findings Presented to Nashville Rotary

Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks (above) presented findings from the Council's study, "The Economic Impact of Violence Against Women in Tennessee" to the Rotary Club of Nashville on February 3, 2014. Her PowerPoint presentation on the study can be found here, with her remarks included.


Tennessee Economic Council on Women Elects New Officers: Dr. Dena Wise Takes the Helm as Chair

Dena Wise, Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been elected chair of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. Wise has served on the Council since 2008. The officers were elected for a one-year term at the Winter Quarterly Meeting, held Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. Yvonne Wood had served as chair for the past two years.

Dr. Wise thanked Mrs. Wood for her tireless work as Chair of the TECW and presented her with a ceremonial gavel. Wise also spoke briefly about her goals as chair. “It is my intent to increase the Council’s efforts related to grant-seeking, enhance research through partnerships, and provide opportunity to Tennessee women all along the economic spectrum.”

Wood congratulated Dr. Wise on her election, expressed appreciation to the members for their efforts, and pledged her continual support of the organization. Wood remains on the Economic Council as the Immediate Past Chair and serves on the Executive Board as a non-voting member.

The complete slate of 2014 TECW officers is as follows:

Chair - Dr. Dena Wise, Professor and Extension Specialist, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Vice Chair - Rep. Karen Camper, 87th Tennessee House District (Memphis)

West Tennessee Representative - Dr. Carol Danehower, Assoc. Professor, University of Memphis

Middle Tennessee Representative - Dr. Janet Smith President, Columbia State Community College

East Tennessee Representative - Mrs. Ruby Miller Owner, State Farm Insurance Agency (Oak Ridge)

Treasurer - Atty. Jane Powers Owner, Powers Law Firm (Crossville)

Secretary - Mrs. Kathleen Armour Walker President/Owner, Tennessee Pewter Company (Somerville)

These officers also serve in companion positions with the Council's non-profit support organization, the Women’s Economic Council Foundation, with the exception of one position, Treasurer, held by Ms. Pat Pierce, Retired Administrator, Vanderbilt University.

In addition to its own new officers, the Foundation also welcomes State Representative Brenda Gilmore (District 54—Nashville) as a new member of its board of directors.

Chair of the nominating committee, Veronica Marable Johnson said, “The Economic Council has distinguished individuals working to uplift and empower women to their greatest potential.” These new officers will continue the growth and development of the agency.

Violence Against Women Report Available

Find the Full Report and Executive Summary here.

10th Tennessee Economic Summit for Women

The Tennessee Economic Council and Foundation presents the 10th Tennesssee Economic Summit for Women and Vision 2020 Regional Congress.

See more.

2013 Scholarship Recipients

The Tennessee Economic Council and Foundation awarded six scholarships at the Economic Summit for Council for Women

See the awards list.

Tennessee Hall of Fame Names Recipients

Six women will be honored at the Tennessee Economic Council on Women 2013 Inductee Luncheon October 28, 2013.

See the recipients list.

Hearing Series on Violence Against Women to Proviude Basis for 2013 Economic Report

How much does it cost you and your employer when you miss a day of work because your spouse hit you?  How much does it cost the state to provide services to the children of parents who are caught in a wicked web of abuse and victimization?  How much does it cost a local police department to operate a domestic violence unit?  How much does it cost the court system to process a perpetrator?  How much does human sex trafficking cost to families?  How do you estimate the cost of a human life lost due to senseless crimes?


Answers to these and other questions were discussed during the Tennessee Economic Council on Women’s 2013 hearing series exploring the economic impact of violence against women. The Council’s focus in this series was to gather state-specific information about the financial effects of crimes like domestic violence and human sex trafficking with an eye toward advocacy and policy development. 


To do so, the hearings were held in each of Tennessee’s nine regional development districts, from Memphis to the Tri-Cities, and included testimony from rural, urban, and suburban communities. Local discussions ranged from healthcare to children’s services; from law enforcement to the judicial system; from faith-based organizations to immigrant issues; and the information gathered by the Economic Council will be used to better determine and report the cost of these crimes to our state.

Learn more.

Efforts to Curb Violence Against Women Could Save Southeast TN Millions

Law enforcement, business owners, healthcare providers and social services present financial argument to enhance prevention and change culture around domestic and sexual violence

CHATTANOOGA - Violence against women costs Chattanooga and Hamilton County well over $3.6 million annually in direct community costs alone, according to testimony offered at a recent hearing convened by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. Local experts and officials met January 18th at the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Room to discuss the economic impact of violence against women, and testified that businesses, hospitals, court systems and the public incur tremendous costs as a result of preventable crimes like sexual assault, human trafficking and domestic violence: crimes that are reported as little as 60 percent of the time, suggesting that the $3.6 million in cited costs only scratches the surface.

In addition to those annual costs, which do not include the value of volunteered time or expenses incurred by victims themselves, Dr. Steven Coulter, President of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's Health Institute, shared estimates that domestic violence, alone, costs commercial health insurance members an additional $7 per member per month in higher premiums, and has a comparable impact on Medicaid costs. This amounts to an additional $28 in health insurance premiums paid each month by a family of four, for example, due simply to the existence and resultant costs of domestic violence.

Particularly in the area of human trafficking, statewide awareness is still emerging and advocates are playing catch up, said Jerry Redman, Managing Partner at Second Life Chattanooga. Redman testified that the financial cost to the public to rescue, treat, protect and shelter local human trafficking victims at current under-reported rates begins at $827,000 and is likely as much as $1.2 or $1.5 million when considering both adult and minor victims. These numbers, Redman notes, are limited to immediate needs and do not consider costs like job training or remedial education that these victims often need later.

Ron Harr, President and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce testified that the local economy is estimated to suffer an annual hit of more than $370,000 from the loss of productivity due to domestic violence alone. "While domestic violence occurs at home, it is expressed in the workplace," said Harr, who also discussed the costs of providing workplace security and cited lawsuits resulting from inadequate security that averaged $1.2 million in a 1994 study ($1.8 million in 2012 dollars).

Other expenses reported include $630,000 or more to operate just one local domestic violence shelter, at least $400,000 each year to address the most immediate needs of sexual assault and rape victims, another $400,000 just for domestic violence-related prosecution costs in the office of Hamilton County Attorney General Bill Cox, and well over $350,000 in court costs related to domestic violence in the area. The figure also omits the $1.25 million that it costs to incarcerate just one domestic violence abuser convicted of first degree murder (96 Tennessee women were murdered by an intimate partner in 2011).

"We have done an initial tally of the costs consequential to these crimes and are becoming aware that the real figures are so much more," said TECW Chattanooga Hearing Chair and Chattanooga City Councilwoman Carol Berz. "We know that there is a lack of coordinated reporting of these crimes and therefore the figures are incomplete. There is a need to fund preventative programs that not only save taxpayer dollars spent on treatment but also prevent future victimization."

More than one hundred members of the public attended the first of nine statewide hearings, which was convened by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women, and hosted by BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee.

For further information about the TECW's hearings on Violence Against Women, please contact the Tennessee Economic Council on Women at (615) 253-4266, www.tennesseewomen.org, or info.ECW@tn.gov

TECW to Begin Statewide Violence Against Women Hearings in Chattanooga

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women will hold the first of nine statewide hearings on the Economic Impact of Violence Against Women in Chattanooga. The hearing will take place Friday, January 18 from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Conference Center. Coordinating partners include the Chattanooga and Hamilton County Medical Society, Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute, Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, the Ochs Center and the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga. These crimes have a footprint on the state as a whole because they dramatically impact so many individuals. "In our research we are finding the issue of violence against women to be a major hindrance to the continued growth and economic development of women as a whole," said Yvonne Wood, Chair of the Council. "As we continue our work, we are growing confident that the impact on the Tennessee economy will measure in the hundreds of millions of dollars." "We want to uncover the costs of these crimes from all aspects: business, healthcare, law enforcement and the judicial system," added Carol Berz, who chairs the Council's Economic Impact Committee. "These figures have not been fully developed so that policymakers and legislators can make the best decisions to serve society as a whole. There is no time like the present to look at this issue though an economic lens, because we are revealing that preventing these crimes and treating their victims is not only our ethical responsibility, it will have a dynamic economic effect on our state." For information about the Hearings, please contact the Tennessee Economic Council on Women at (615) 253-4266 or info.ECW@tn.gov.

Highlights of the Ninth Annual Economic Summit for Women

Lilly Ledbetter,
namesake of the
2009 Fair Pay
Restoration Act

TECW’s Ninth Annual Economic Summit for Women was a great success this year, with more than 300 attendees coming to network, share stories and learn from national leaders like fair-pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter, ABA President Laurel Bellows, renowned speech coach Deb Sofield and Vision 2020 lead, Lynn Yeakel. View photos from Summit.

"2012 Status of Women in Tennessee Counties" Released

The Economic Council on Women released, today, an updated County-by-County assessment of targeted economic indicators across Tennessee. The study discusses topics ranging from median income and the wage gap, to educational attainment, healthcare access and standards of living. The 2012 report uses new data available from the 2010 census and thousands of pieces of information from sources that include the American Community Survey, the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates Report and the Tennessee Department of Education to compile the second volume in this comprehensive series.

Ninth Annual Economic Summit for Women

The Economic Council on Women released, today, an updated County-by-County assessment of targeted economic indicators across Tennessee. The study discusses topics ranging from median income and the wage gap, to educational attainment, healthcare access and standards of living. The 2012 report uses new data available from the 2010 census and thousands of pieces of information from sources that include the American Community Survey, the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates Report and the Tennessee Department of Education to compile the second volume in this comprehensive series.

Tenth Annual Economic Summit for Women

October 27-28, 2013
Tenth Annual Economic Summit for Women‐Nashville
October 29, 2013
Quarterly Meeting‐Nashville

Lilly Ledbetter to Keynote 2012 Summit

The Economic Council on Women is excited to announce fair pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter as the 2012 Economic Summit keynote speaker. Ledbetter will discuss her fight for equal rights in the workplace at the Summit luncheon.

"We are very fortunate to have Lilly Ledbetter join us as a speaker this year for the 2012 Economic Summit and bring us her inspirational story," said Council Chair Yvonne Wood. "Lilly won a court battle for gender pay discrimination and then had it struck down by the Supreme Court. She did not give up and as a result, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. It is an important tool for women to combat the inequities still occurring in the workplace. Tennessee women are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar of their male counterparts."

Council Explores Economic Status of Women in Tennessee

The Council’s most recent research assesses the economic equality, literacy, independence, opportunity and stability of Tennessee’s women.  This research, inspired by the White House Council on Women and Girls’ recent report Women in America, provides a statistical portrait of women in Tennessee in five critical areas: demographic and family changes, education, employment, health, and crime and violence.  This portrait clarifies the achievements already made by Tennessee women and the difficulties they still face.  The economic success of Tennessee women means the economic success of Tennessee families and Tennessee communities.  The full Women in Tennessee report can be accessed in the report section of this website.

Council Explores Impact of Women-Owned Businesses

 
In the current economy, everyone from policy makers to educators and shopkeepers to beekeepers are looking for a way to make a positive difference in our economic growth. Over the past few years, women-owned businesses in Tennessee have grown at a level that outpaces most other profit-making enterprises. More than 140,000 women in Tennessee own a business. These women contribute millions to our State coffers, support other businesses and employ thousands. It's no longer a matter of whether women-owned businesses make a significant difference to Tennessee's economy. The real question is how can we help them maximize their potential? Read the report here.

Economic Impact of
Women’s Wages & Earnings

At the 2009 Economic Summit for Women, the Council released it most recent report, The Economic Impact of Wages & Earnings for Tennessee Women. This report provides a history of wages, statistical analysis of the relationships between income, occupation and gender specifically in Tennessee, and ideas for closing the wage gap and providing economic stability.  See the full report: The Economic Impact of Wages and Earnings for Tennessee Women.
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