Historic Progress towards Gender Pay Equity in 2015 Missouri Legislative Session

Legislation Garners Unprecedented Bipartisan Support; Passes Through Three Committees

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri General Assembly saw unprecedented progress on legislation to close the gender pay gap before adjournment last Friday. Equal pay legislation generated bipartisan support; passing out of three separate committees and garnering 22 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.  This level of support marked historic movement, despite the legislation not passing out of the full legislature before session’s end.

“We would like to thank the legislators on both sides of the aisle who worked to advance equal pay for equal work this session,” said Wendy Doyle, President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation. “We will continue to advocate for passage of pay equity legislation next year as well as for other policy solutions to remove this economic barrier for women and their families.”

After a research study, conducted with the University of Missouri, identified that women in Missouri make 29% less than men for the same work, the Women’s Foundation made pay equity a public policy priority for their organization.  For several months, the Foundation has been working to bring attention to this issue of inequity, cultivating support for solutions and engaging with policy makers to discuss and advance solutions.

Both HB 44, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Webber (Columbia), and SB 144, sponsored by Sen. Paul LeVota (Independence), would establish best practice guidelines for businesses to utilize when addressing the gender pay gap. HB 44 attracted 22 cosponsors before end of session and passed out of two House committees with bipartisan support. SB 144 passed out of one Senate committee with bipartisan support.

It is not uncommon for legislation to take multiple sessions to pass out of the legislature and the next regular session of the Missouri General Assembly begins in January 2016.  Until then, Women’s Foundation will continue to work toward policy solutions – legislative and otherwise—to address issues facing women and their families.

 The Women’s Foundation promotes equity and opportunity for women and girls, using philanthropy, research and policy solutions to make meaningful change.