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Salaries for Missouri Women Still Lagging

Missouri gets failing grades when it comes to women's wages, health and well-being and reproductive rights. (B.Friedman)
Missouri gets failing grades when it comes to women's wages, health and well-being and reproductive rights. (B.Friedman)
January 11, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Strides need to be made to level the playing field between men and women in Missouri, according to new research on the status of women. The report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research gives Missouri a "C-minus" for employment and earnings. Missouri women make an average of 79 cents for every dollar a man does.

Senior research associate and the report's co-author Julie Anderson, says paying women the same as men for comparable work and hours would pull more than half of those women out of poverty, and have a ripple effect on the entire state.

"The wage gap is obviously a drain on individual women, but a huge drain on the state economy, and public assistance programs," she said. "And so that's a big, big policy lever that would have a huge impact."

Missouri gets a "D plus" when it comes to poverty and opportunity, and 'D's" for both health and well-being and reproductive rights.

Anderson says providing paid sick days and family leave is another policy that would make a big difference to Missouri women, as they typically shoulder the responsibility when family illnesses or emergencies arise.

"It's women who will back out of the labor force, and that's very, very difficult to recover from," she added. "But paid sick days and paid family leave will support families in keeping multiple earners in the workforce and not dropping out because of that impossible bind."

In 2013 the average pay for men in Missouri was $43,000 dollars, while it's only $34,000 for women. The report says at this pace it will take until 2066 for women to catch up.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO