Chattanooga Gears Up For First Women In The Workforce Symposium

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Chattanooga is gearing up for the first annual “Minding the Gaps: A Symposium on Women in the Workforce.” Researcher and author William “Buddy” Scarborough of University of Illinois Chicago Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, will make his way south on Sept. 6, to present labor force gender equality data for the Chattanooga region.

“My central argument, which is backed up by research, is that gender equality is not only a moral imperative, but it essential for economic development," said Mr. Scarborough. "So for cities to be competitive, they need to invest in promoting gender equality. I'll plan on showing how this plays out on the national stage, and then zooming in to focus specifically on Chattanooga, tracking cultural and economic change from 1980 to 2010, showing where the city excels, where it has the potential to improve, and what is needed to ensure ongoing progress."

Mr. Scarborough’s recent article published in Harvard Business Review, What the Data Says About Women in Management from 1980-2010 breaks down the information and he says it’s not all bad news.

“Women’s representation in management is higher than it’s ever been…however, female managers working in feminized fields do experience wage penalties, but the occupations with the largest increase in women are also those with the biggest gender wage gaps,” said Mr. Scarborough.

Sharing the stage with Mr. Scarborough will be a panel of experts who have either broken through glass ceilings of their own or have coached leaders to become more inclusive and aware of the gaps. Mr. Scarborough will moderate a series of questions to three panelists. Chantelle Roberson, a trial attorney and assistant vice president and senior regulatory counsel for Unum, has spent over 19 years handling civil litigation and corporate matters. She’s seen many “firsts” in her career as has Megan Horn, a process engineer for Hendrick Motorsports (NASCAR) and former process engineer for Norfolk Southern Railroad. Both have seen and experienced the lack of diversity in the workplace. Mark Nation, a consultant and author with Nation Leadership who has traveled globally helping companies and executives find their purpose, has seen the lack of equity but also what we all have in common. Nicole Koesling, senior vice president of Volkswagen Human Resources, agrees there is much work to do. She will close out the symposium by sharing best practices that Volkswagen Assembly Plant has put in place locally to help gain awareness about unconscious bias and close the gaps that Mr. Scarborough is referencing. 

The Symposium will be held at the Volkswagen Conference Center at 8001 Volkswagen Dr. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 6 with welcome remarks at 12 p.m. 

General admission tickets are free with no lunch and $15 for a luncheon ticket. Free Volkswagen Academy Tours will be available at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Breakout sessions from each panelist will be available after the keynote and panel session beginning at 2:30 p.m. Executive one-on-one sessions with Mr. Scarborough after the symposium are available for sponsors. Registration is here:

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