Wendy Doyle of Women's Foundation Testifies in Support of Gender Pay Equity Bill

Women in Missouri Make 71 Cents to the Dollar Men Make

Jefferson City, MO – Today, Wendy Doyle, President & CEO of the Women’s Foundation, testified before the House Committee for Workforce Standards and Development in support of HB 44, a gender pay equity bill sponsored by Rep. Stephen Webber (Columbia).  According to a recent research study conducted by the Women’s Foundation in partnership with the University of Missouri, women in Missouri make 29% less than men for the same work.  

 Her testimony was as follows:

Good afternoon, members of the committee. My name is Wendy Doyle, and I am the President & CEO of the Women's Foundation. Since 1991, the Foundation has been investing in equity and opportunity for women of all ages in Missouri.

I am here to testify in support of House Bill 44 because the Women’s Foundation wants to help drive economic development and support for Missouri women and their families. Not only do women represent 51% of our state’s population, 65% of Missouri women vote which is a larger percentage than men and is even higher than the national average for both men and women.

 At the Foundation, research is a large component of our work with the data and facts to accurately tell the story. In 2014, we conducted a qualitative and quantitative study, in partnership with the University of Missouri's Truman School of Public Affairs. Our study focused on the Status of Women in Missouri. In addition to analysis, we spent a lot time listening to low-income and mid-to-upper income women in focus groups throughout Missouri so we could hear firsthand exactly what issues women are facing. We even focused group men and what we learned is that they have concerns for their wives’ ability to generate income to household budgets and for the daughters’ need to be economically self-sufficient.

 To give you a snapshot, our research revealed that:

·       Positively, Missouri women make up 48 percent of the paid labor force, slightly higher than the national rate of 47 percent. 

·       Another positive, Missouri women are less likely to be unemployed than are men. 

·       All that being said though, in Missouri, women who work full-time earn 29 percent less than men for the same work. Said another way, Missouri women make $0.71 to the dollar that men make. With few exceptions, this income gap persists across racial and ethnic groups, age, educational level and occupation. As a reference point, the national average is $0.78 to the dollar.

·       Over two-thirds of Missouri's counties, mostly in the Northwest and Southeast regions of the state, have income ratios below the state average. The widest gap is in Carroll County, where women have incomes that are just 51 percent of male incomes.

 You may be asking how the gender pay gap is related to driving economic development?

·       Research has shown that currently Missouri women who are employed full time -- lose a combined total of approximately $8 billion dollars due to this wage gap.

This means that if we can work together to close the gap, on average, a working woman in Missouri would have enough money for approximately:

·       73 more weeks of food for her family (more than a year's worth);

·       Eight more months of mortgage and utilities payments;

·       Nearly 13 more months of rent; or

·       2,934 additional gallons of gas

There is so much more that we can do to develop best business practices to further economic development for Missouri and to improve the lives of women and their families.

We believe that House Bill 44 takes the right approach to get to the “why” there is a gender pay gap so that together, men and women, we can develop lasting solutions and get the results that we all desire.

Economically self-sufficient women will lead Missouri’s next chapter of economic growth and by supporting this bill you will be investing in a stronger economy for all Missourians.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today.