Research Highlights Problems and Solutions to Improve the Economic Lives of Women and their Families
TOPEKA, KS – The Women’s Foundation today released the findings of research on the status of women in Kansas, commissioned from the University of Kansas’s Center for Science Technology & Economic Policy. The study will provide a baseline for continued research and will inform workable policy solutions for women and their families.
“With facts, we identified the real issues facing women in Kansas and are working toward real solutions to improve their lives,” said Wendy Doyle, President & CEO of Women’s Foundation. “The Status of Women in Kansas provides important data that will provide a baseline to measure progress for women and their families.”
“We’ve appreciated the opportunity to dive into the data and analyze various key indicators affecting women in Kansas,” said Dr. Donna Ginther, Professor of Economics and Director, Center for Science Technology & Economic Policy at the Institute for Policy & Social Research, University of Kansas. “The research is clear – there are many opportunities and issues that must be addressed.”
“What Kansas needs is smart, strategic government that uses research to identify real solutions to real problems,” said State Representative Melissa Rooker (R-Fairway). “The Women’s Foundation study provides a wealth of credible data that can be used to increase economic development opportunities not just for women, but for all Kansans.”
Findings from the research highlight areas of possible action to help women and their families better succeed in the Kansas economy. Examples of statewide and regional findings include the following:
Employment and Income
- Lead Indicator: the ratio of female to male income.
- Women in Kansas who work full-time, year-round earn an average of only 79 cents for every dollar of male earnings.
- Women in Kansas hold fewer management positions and are significantly less likely to be self-employed or own a business than men. Women are most likely to work as secretaries and administrative assistants, registered nurses or elementary and middle school teachers.
Education and Child Care
- Lead Indicator: the cost and distribution of licensed child care centers.
- In Kansas, child care costs are 31 percent of female median earnings. Some counties have very few child care options; Elk and Wallace counties in Kansas each have only one licensed child care facility.
- Lead Indicator: the rate of working age women without health insurance.
- In 2014, 14.11% of working age women in Kansas had no health insurance. 30.19% of working age women in Kansas– living in households with income below 200% of the poverty level– have no health insurance.
Poverty and Social Insurance
- Lead Indicator: the rate of women and single-parent families in poverty.
- 39% of single-mother households are in poverty in Kansas and child poverty has doubled in Kansas since 2000. Among people age 65 and over, women in Kansas are almost twice as likely to be in poverty as men.
- Lead Indicator: the proportion of women in the Kansas State Legislature.
- Although women make up 50.7% of Kansas’s population, they comprise only 24.8% of the legislature.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded HERE. The extensive research project was commissioned by the Women’s Foundation and conducted by academic experts at the Center for Science Technology & Economic Policy at the Institute for Policy & Social Research, University of Kansas.
The Women’s Foundation promotes equity and opportunity for women of all ages, using research, philanthropy and policy solutions to make meaningful change. More information about the organization can be found at www.Womens-Foundation.org.