Women’s Foundation Releases New Data that Underscores Need for Policy Solutions

New Data Shows Much More Work to Be Done to Achieve Economic Empowerment for Women in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, MO – Today, Women’s Foundation released new findings to their ongoing research on the Status of Women in Missouri at a web-based press conference.
The research examines and benchmarks progress, or lack thereof, on a variety of indicators for women in Missouri. For example, there are signs of incremental progress in some areas, such as health care, where a higher percentage of Missouri women now have health insurance coverage than two years ago. However, in other areas there has been regression: despite women making up 51% of Missouri’s population, the percentage of women serving in the Missouri General Assembly is now only 22.3% -- down from 25% two years ago.

“Our research identifies real areas of concern that require policy solutions to empower women economically,” said Wendy Doyle, President and CEO of Women’s Foundation. "The good news is there are concrete steps policymakers and community leaders can take – right now – to make life better for women and their families. Our policy solutions such as the Appointments Project, Pay Equity Best Practices and work to reduce regulatory burdens and promote paid family leave are designed to do just that.”

Findings from the research include the following:

Employment & Income
Lead Indicator: Earnings gap between men and women

  • Women who work full time in Missouri earn only 77.9 cents for every dollar earned by a man, a gender wage gap of almost 22 percent.  (improved)
  • The gender pay gap is noticeably larger for women of color, who make as little as 66.7 cents per every dollar a white male earns.

Education & Child Care
Lead indicator: Number and distribution of accredited child care centers

  • 38 percent of Missouri counties do not have an accredited child care center, which is now worse than in 2013, when only 27 percent of counties had no accredited centers. (declined)
  • With 69.9 percent of mothers and 92.8 percent of fathers with children under 18 participating in paid work, many rely on child care.
  • The cost of child care in Missouri for infants averages $5,600 to $8,700 or more annually, which can be higher than a year’s tuition at a four-year public university.

Social & Economic
Lead Indicator: Poverty rate of women 65 and older

  • In 2015, 10.3 percent of women over 65 in Missouri were in poverty. (improved)
  • 41.3 percent of women-headed households with children under 18 live below the poverty level
  • The poverty rate of women 75 and older is almost two times higher than the poverty rate of men 75 and older in both Missouri and the U.S.

Lead Indicator: Proportion of Missourians without health care coverage

  • In 2015, 9.8 percent of Missourians were without health care, which is higher than the national rate of 9.4 percent. (improved; this rate was 13.0% in 2013)
  • 60 percent of uninsured Missourians are women.
  • Nearly 73,000 uninsured Missouri women could have access to health care under Medicaid expansion, which is extremely important when 1 in 8 women today will develop breast cancer.
  • In Missouri, there are 33 counties where more than one-fifth of the population is uninsured, the highest being Scotland County where 39 percent of residents do not have health insurance.

Leadership & Public Engagement
Lead Indicator: Women representation in public office

  • Women account for 51 percent of Missouri’s population, but only 22.3 percent of Missouri’s 2017 General Assembly, down from 25 percent in Missouri’s 2015 General Assembly. (declined)
  • Only 24 percent of state court judges are women.
  • Only 19 percent of all state prosecutors are women.
  • Only two (2) sheriffs in the state are women.

Women Veterans and Military Spouses

  • In 2015, 11.8 percent of veterans were women, compared to 8.4 percent in 2009.
  • In 2015, the gender pay gap between male and women veterans in Missouri was narrower than the rest of the nation at 93 percent and 83 percent, respectively.
  • Military spouses need to make career and lifestyle adjustments throughout their lives, which causes them to earn less and participate less in the labor force.

"Many factors, including pay equity, education, health care, and child care significantly impact women's lives and their ability to achieve economic equity," said Emily Johnson, Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer, Institute of Public Policy, Truman School of Public Affairs, University of Missouri.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded HERE. The extensive research project was commissioned by the Women’s Foundation in partnership with academic experts at the University of Missouri’s Institute of Public Policy and was made possible by generous support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In 2015, Women's Foundation released its first Status of Women in Missouri research report to inform workable policy solutions for women and their families and to set baseline data by which they could benchmark subsequent findings.

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.


Women's Foundation released findings to their ongoing research on the Status of Women in Missouri at a web-based press conference on January 19, 2017. This is a recording of that presentation.