Skip to main content

Background Image for Header: West Virginia scenery

Women Moving Forward


To achieve long-term economic prosperity, West Virginia must empower more women to play an active role in blazing a path forward. One of the fastest ways to increase the state’s overall economy is to increase the number of women in the workforce. Fewer than half of West Virginia women are currently in the labor force, leading to the lowest workforce participation rate among women in the country. This trajectory must change.

West Virginia Forward members discuss advancement for women in the workforce.

WV Forward, in partnership with the WVU Provost Office, First Lady Laurie Erickson and the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative, are convening hundreds of West Virginians (women and men) from all backgrounds and demographics statewide to confront some of the most urgent challenges unique to West Virginia Women. These must be surmounted to ensure the economic future of our state.

Working together, firm managers, poverty lawyers, homelessness advocates, government employees, higher education faculty and staff, educators and stakeholder experts, are proposing bold ideas for disruptive, creative and productive actions that can lead to real results related to:

  • Logistical workforce barriers that prevent women from entering or reentering the workforce.
  • How to create and protect educational opportunities for girls and women across the state.
  • Complex, interconnected factors in women’s lives that can lead to a lifelong gender wage gap compared to male peers.

Get Ready for Work

West Virginia’s greatest asset is our people, yet too many people face obstacles to sharing their talents in the workplace. No one should miss out on a job because of a lack of work clothes. Targeted clothing drives can help West Virginians get Ready for Work.

Employment and non-profit organizations report trouble meeting the overwhelming demands to help support people trying to get appropriate clothing to go to work. WV Forward has identified resource organizations and their clients’ most in-demand work clothes. 

By hosting targeted Ready for Work clothing drives that collect specific items for local charities serving clients in your community, you can make a difference.

A statewide survey of West Virginia charities and non-profits show the following items are most needed for women getting to work. 

Solid color scrubs | Non-slip shoes | Closed toe professional shoes | Plus-size clothes | Black pants | White button down shirts | Suits

If you are interested in hosting a clothing drive to support help West Virginians get ready for work, please email A list of statewide organizations and programs that assist those in need of professional attire or resources will be provided, along with a step-by-step guide on best practices to set up your local clothing drive.

Together, we can help all West Virginia women pursue financial success and independence and blaze a path to a more prosperous future.

ready for work

Be part of something bigger.

We want to hear from you. Share your ideas. Stay informed. Help us move West Virginia Forward.

West Virginia Forward logo WVU logo West Virginia Seal Marshall University logo

Complete Issue-Related Surveys Here

Sign up for our newsletter Contact Us

*Citations available upon request.