(HOUSTON) — To coincide with International Women’s Day, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is rebooting his Good for Texas Tour by highlighting women at all levels of business and their important impact on the Texas economy. Today, Hegar is celebrating the work of Susan M. Distefano, chief executive officer of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.
“From the factory floor to the boardroom, from retail trade to manufacturing, women make up nearly half the Texas workforce,” Hegar said. “And more women than ever are leading a diverse range of enterprises. In the past 20 years, the number of women-owned companies in Texas has risen by 146 percent. Today, nearly a million Texas women own their own businesses.”
During his Good for Texas Tour: Women in the Workforce Edition, Hegar is sharing the results of a study the Comptroller’s office recently completed examining the economic impact of women on the Texas economy. He is touring facilities and meeting with some of the exemplary women across the state who are taking leadership roles in all sectors of Texas’ economy.
Distefano has been CEO of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital since 2011. Previously, Distefano was a research officer at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (TMC), where she oversaw clinical research studies in close collaboration with The University of Texas Office of Research. Earlier in her career, she served as a nurse manager in Memorial Hermann-TMC’s neonatal intensive care unit, as well as a neonatal Memorial Hermann Life Flight® transport nurse and team coordinator.
Children’s Memorial has a dedicated pediatric emergency center and, along with Memorial Hermann-TMC, is part of the Texas Trauma Institute — the nation’s busiest Level 1 trauma center, according to the National Trauma Database.
The hospital is part of the education and health services industry. In 2017, women comprised 76.3 percent (1.2 million) of all Texas workers in the sector, accounting for the highest female employment across all industries in the state. In the health care portion of this industry, women’s average annual salary was about $56,000.
“The focus of this tour is to highlight the profound impact Texas women have on the health of the state economy,” Hegar added.
In all, nearly 6 million women held jobs in Texas in 2017. Texas’ women-owned businesses employed 808,200 workers and generated about $134.2 million in sales.
“I hope this tour will also emphasize the need to continue to have conversations about the importance of ensuring women have equal access to advancement in the workplace,” Hegar said.
Further efforts are needed to eliminate barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and access to top-level positions. Three of the most women-dominated occupations in Texas — health care support, personal care and service and office and administrative support — are among the lowest-paid occupations in the state.
And even in higher-paying occupations, such as health care practitioners and technical occupations, the share of women employed in the highest-paying jobs is significantly smaller than that of men.
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