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Kansas City Mayor's Office Pledges Support To Women's Microloan Program

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Elle Moxley
/
KCUR
Kansas City Mayor Sly James speaks at a women's empowerment conference Friday at the Kauffman Foundation Center.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James has pledged $10,000 from his office’s budget to the Women's Business Center WE-Lend Microloan program.

“We can always do more to remove barriers from people who don’t need barriers in front of them,” James told about 200 women attending a WE 2.0 women’s empowerment conference Friday.

The loans provide funding, technical assistance and a financial coach to women-led businesses.

James says more needs to be done to encourage young girls, who are just as interested in science, technology, engineering and math as boys, to pursue STEM education.

“But the rate of women earning undergraduate degrees in those fields drops like a rock when you get to college, particularly in fields like computer science and engineering,” James said, adding that half of all women who end up in STEM fields will leave within 12 years – that’s compared to 20 percent of women in other careers.

James also said he’d like Kansas City businesses to do more to support women as they start families.

Beginning next year, city employees will receive six weeks of paid parental leave. James said offering paid time off to new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, makes good business sense.

“I think businesses, if they would look at return on investment, would find the return is greater than the investment in terms of a productive workforce and a happier workforce,” James said.

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