Women’s Foundation Kicks off its 25th Year with a Public Policy Strategy Focused on Economically Empowering Women

Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, Ann Compton, and Speaker of the Missouri House Todd Richardson Join Women's Foundation to Remove Barriers and Increase Opportunities for Women in Missouri and Kansas

KANSAS CITY, MO – Today, Women's Foundation kicked off its 25th anniversary by convening more than 1,500 people from across the political spectrum with the common goal of economically empowering women in Kansas and Missouri.

Keynote speakers for the celebration included Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, America’s first woman Secretary of State, legendary ABC News’ White House Correspondent Ann Compton, and Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson. Other speakers included high school-aged members of Women’s Foundation’s Girl Leadership program from the bi-state region, and civic leaders from the Women’s Foundation Appointments Project.

At the luncheon, Wendy Doyle, Women’s Foundation President and CEO, recapped the organization’s work in 2016, which focused heavily on research targeting the barriers and economic opportunities for women in Kansas and Missouri. Women’s Foundation commissioned research in the past year on Pay Equity Best Practices, The Status of Women in Kansas, and Paid Family Leave to name a few. The most recent research project, Occupational Licensing and Women Entrepreneurs in Missouri, was made possible with generous support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  

“Our region’s economic development hinges on our ability to remove artificial barriers to economic, civic, and professional growth for women,” said Doyle. Over the last year, Women’s Foundation has been actively pursuing policy solutions in these areas.   

Speaker Richardson announced two legislative priorities that he will be working on to strengthen Missouri’s economy for women of all ages in the 2017 Legislative Session – paid family leave and a “sunrise” provision that would require a cost-benefit analysis to create a new occupational licensing board or commission. Both of these proposed pieces of legislation would remove barriers for women entering and staying in the workforce. 

“It is imperative that our State removes unnecessary regulatory barriers to allow women to succeed. I know that when women succeed, our families and State succeed, too,” said Speaker Richardson. “Women already account for over $24 Billion is sales in our State. Just imagine what we can do together if those barriers that hold women back are removed – I’ll work for that change.”

At the 2015 Annual Luncheon, Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order supporting equal pay, after Women’s Foundation’s 2015 Status of Women in Missouri research identified women make 71 cents to the dollar men make. Women’s Foundation looks forward to continuing the advancement of solutions related to pay equity with the next administration, including implementation of the Pay Equity Best Practices Guidelines.

The Women’s Foundation promotes equity and opportunity for women of all ages, using philanthropy, research, and policy solutions to make meaningful change. More information about the organization can be found at www.Womens-Foundation.org.