Female engineers make, on average, $11,000 less than their male counterparts.\r\nWest Virginia ranks at the bottom in the nation for the percentage of women who hold a bachelor\u2019s degree \u2014 just 22 percent.\r\nMany workplace policies do not address the parenting or flex needs of all employees.\r\nThese are just a few of the statistics shared and discussed Wednesday at the first West Virginia Women Moving Forward \u2014 a gathering of about 72 women put together by Joyce McConnell, WVU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Laurie Erickson, leader of the Erickson Foundation.\r\nErickson called it a big day for all who champion women.\r\n\u201cWe don\u2019t make progress by standing on the sidelines, wimpering and complaining,\u201d she said in her opening remarks. \u201cWe make progress by implementing ideas.\u201d\r\nThe ideas came as the women broke into three groups at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center and talked about what issues \u2014 in certain categories \u2014 could be worked on and ultimately solved. The goal is to make West Virginia a better place by empowering women.\r\nThe categories looked at were workplace barriers, education and the wage gap.\r\n\u201cThese were three areas we know there are disparities for women. The reason we do this is for all the wonderful little girls who follow behind us,\u201d WVU\u2019s provost told the group.\r\n\r\nShe said the hope is to make the path for them a little easier and more equitable. The goal is also to keep more people \u2014 men and women \u2014 in West Virginia by providing more jobs, better training and a better way of life.\r\n\u201cThis is not the end of a conversation,\u201d McConnell said. \u201cThis is the beginning of action.\u201d\r\nThe women, who came from WVU, Marshall University, private business and charitable organizations from across the state, will reconvene a few more times throughout 2019 to work on changes deemed necessary.