Every day, American women make incredible contributions to our economy, but we are just starting to scratch the surface of women’s economic potential. For women to fully help right our economic outlook, we must address both the challenges and opportunities for women. This is precisely why I recently held a Women’s Economic Empowerment roundtable at Dixon Schwabl’s headquarters in Victor.

Despite the significant role women already play in our economy, we continue to face challenges.

Women on average start their business with eight times less funding than men. Less than 3 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by a female chief executive officer, and only 16 percent of those companies’ board seats are occupied by women. And to this day, women still make just 78 cents on the dollar compared to men.

If we are going to rebuild our middle class, we need to start by making sure women are being paid fairly. Furthermore, if we are going to out-innovate, out-compete and out-build the global competition, women, who now earn more than half of all college and advanced degrees, need to be at the forefront.

Our discussion shared ideas to help address the obstacles women face. This included mentoring programs for women in math and science, making job training a priority for low-income women and single mothers, and ensuring that lending programs give women equal access to capital and financing.