Women Entrepreneurs in the Restaurant Industry Host Panel to Discuss Women in the Workplace

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — To celebrate Women’s History Month and Equal Pay Day, SUNY Broome hosted a Zoom panel of women entrepreneurs in the service industry.

The list of panel members included owners of The Lost Dog Cafe, The Shop, Parlor City Vegan and De Colores Cookies Y Mas.

Lost Dog Cafe panelist and co-owner Marie McKennna discussed how expectations and discrimination have played a role throughout her experience in the industry.

She said women in the industry were overlooked and undervalued.

“Don’t really expect what you’re capable of and just push that away, we’ve come up against that so many times over the years,” McKenna said.

McKenna told 12 News that she has seen this discrimination happen to other restaurant owners as well, including the owner of The Shop.

“For example, Eugenie mentioning sales reps coming in and asking for Eugene,” McKenna said. “When he found out it was her, he was a little shocked and said, your mom also helped you decorate this place.”

De Colores Cookies Y Mas owner Ely Rooney told 12 News her journey has also been an uphill battle.

“You work in a male-dominated industry and you’re going to face things like sexual harassment,” Rooney said.

She feels that the only way she was able to establish herself was to do it on her own.

“It changed drastically only because I took the reins and started my own business,” Rooney told 12 News.

For women looking to start a family, gender roles always impact how women are treated.

“I know women can of course leave the workplace to have a baby, but that shouldn’t impact your salary,” McKenna said.

According to the 2022 State of the Gender Pay Gap Report, women earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, meaning the road to equal pay continues.

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