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New Study Shows Deep Gender Inequalities In Missouri

National Women's Law Center

A new study on gender inequality in Missouri has identified five major areas where women are treated unfairly: income, child care, health insurance, poverty and elected offices.

That’s where women face a significant disparity compared to men, according to the Women’s Foundation and the University of Missouri. At a preview conference on Friday in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the groups shared key findings.

For example, women in Missouri earn 71 cents per dollar that a man earns — a figure that lags national averages.

Jennifer Bacon, senior partner with the Kansas City, Mo., law firm of Polsinelli P.C., attended the event. She has seen great strides in gender equality since she was a law student in the days of second-wave feminism, but isn’t shocked that there’s still work to be done.

"It used to be that there were literally rules in place in a lot of organizations where women couldn’t be admitted to clubs," Bacon said. "That's not true anymore, the barriers are much more subtle."

The full research study is expected to be published in January. Here are the main findings announced Friday:

  • In Missouri, women who work full time earn 29 percent less than male workers for the same work.
  • 27 percent of counties lack any accredited child-care centers, including three counties with the highest number of children aged 0-4.
  • At least 650,000 Missourians, or 13.6 percent, are without health insurance, and in some Missouri counties, more than one-fifth of the population is uninsured.
  • More than 9 percent of seniors are in poverty; two-thirds of whom are women.
  • Although women comprise 51 percent of the state’s population, only 25 percent of seats in the General Assembly – where state laws are made – are held by women.
Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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