2022 policy agenda

WFSTL’s policy agenda helps guide and coordinate individuals and organizations that want to add their voices and actions to WFSTL’s so that all women in our region have the ability to thrive.

We know that women in the St. Louis region face complex and interrelated barriers on their path to achieving economic success.  Based on themes that emerged from a series of listening sessions the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis (WFSTL) conducted during the spring of 2017, WFSTL’s Women in the Workplace: Employment Scorecard initiative and a report completed by graduate students at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis in the spring of 2018, WFSTL’s policy agenda helps guide and coordinate individuals and organizations that want to add their voices and actions to WFSTL’s so that all women in our region have the ability to thrive.

In 2022, WFSTL will prioritize advocacy work at the state and local level. Priority issues will include:

Expand access to jobs and fair wages

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Expand access to jobs and fair wages

  • Today’s wage gap in Missouri would cost a woman $401,160 over a 40-year career, when compared to a man;

  • A woman would have to work until she is 71 years old to make what a man makes by the time he is 60 years old (NWLC).

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Expand access to jobs and fair wages

  • Today’s wage gap in Missouri would cost a woman $401,160 over a 40-year career, when compared to a man;

  • A woman would have to work until she is 71 years old to make what a man makes by the time he is 60 years old (NWLC).

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2021 bills in Jefferson City related to these issues:

  • MO 2021 SB 59:  Modifies provisions relating to employment practices relating to gender.  

  • MO 2021 SB 111: Prohibits employer or prospective employers from inquiring into an employee or prospective employee’s salary history.   

Support for working families

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Paid family leave

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Access to safe, affordable child care

  • Child care is an essential workforce support that is a driver for economic development.

  • While child care is extensively utilized by families in Missouri and the U.S., the availability quality care and the rising cost of child care, can be large barriers to families. (MU Truman School of Public Policy, 2017)

  • In St. Louis, dozens of families are scrambling to find day care options after changes to three popular programs will reduce the number of available spaces in fall of 2018 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 9, 2018)

  • The challenge of child care access has only been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools and daycares have closed.

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Access to basic living necessities that ensure economic opportunity

  • St. Louis study showed that 36% of surveyed women who reported being employed missed one or more days of work per month due to their periods and inability to afford period-related products.

  • Working renters who lose their home are 11-22% more likely to lose their jobs (Desmond and Gershenson, 2016).

In 2022 the WFSTL will continue to monitor bills in Jefferson City related to these issues. 

WFSTL recognizes that there are also many other barriers that women experience to economic success. This policy agenda is meant to serve as a lens to focus WFSTL’s time and resources over the next 12 months.  By joining and forming coalitions with organizations that share WFSTL’s values, these priorities will be based upon data, which will be compiled and/or commissioned as needed. This work will then be used to inform policymakers in forming proposed regulations, policies and laws that will could be enacted to create systemic change.  Recognizing that before such transformation can occur, WFSTL will provide leadership to plan, fund and communicate activities that will help bring forward this evolution. 

In November 2021 the WFSTL honored elected officials for their efforts to eliminate the barriers to economic independence for women in the St. Louis region. Honorees included:

  • Rasheen Aldridge: State Representative – 78th District
  • Lauren Arthur: State Senator – 17th District
  • Doug Beck: State Senator – 1st District
  • Paula Brown: State Representative – 70th District
  • Shameem Clark Hubbard: Alderwoman – 26th Ward City of St. Louis
  • Mary Elizabeth Coleman: State Representative – 97th District
  • Bruce DeGroot: State Representative – 101st District
  • Karla May: State Senator – 24th District
  • Jill Schupp: State Senator – 4th District
  • Jo Doll: State Representative – 83rd District
  • Barbara Phifer: State Representative – 90th District
  • Raychel Proudie: State Representative – 73rd District

On October 7, 2020 the WFSTL hosted a webinar with City of St. Louis Alderwoman, Shameem Clark Hubbard and Jama Dodson, Executive Director of St. Louis Mental Health Board.

On November Ballot: Expanding Early Childhood Services in the City of St. Louis (Prop R)

On August 13, 2020 we honored elected officials who have worked on valuable legislation that supports the goals of our foundation.

Changing Public Policy: Economic Success for Women. If you missed the award panel you can watch it here.

Closing the Gender Gap

  • Senator Scott Sifton
  • Senator Karla May

Increasing Missouri’s minimum wage

  • County Executive Dr. Sam Page

Promoting paid family leave

  • State Auditor Nicole Galloway
  • Senator Jill Schupp
  • Representative Tracy McCreery

Supporting equitable hiring practices

  • City of St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia

Making affordable and quality childcare accessible

  • City of St. Louis Alderwoman Shameem Hubbard
  • St. Louis Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy
  • St. Louis Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway

Our advocacy activities since adopting this agenda:

  • Took an official stance in support of Missouri Prop B, which was successfully passed to raise Missouri’s minimum wage

  • Co-sponsored the 2019 Women’s March in St. Louis

  • Testified at Missouri House hearing against bill to decrease protections covered by Prop B

  • Co-sponsored the City of St. Louis President of Board of Aldermen debate, and raised questions on economic success for women, payday lending, and child care

  • Submitted written testimony in support of SB178 to provide unpaid leave for domestic violence victims

  • Co-sponsored, spoke at, and participated in the ERA Lobby Day in Jefferson City

  • Participated in the Missouri Women’s Network Lobby Day

As part of our advocacy work, the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis is grateful to have built relationships with key legislators and allies, including:

Senator Jill Schupp
Representative Tracy McCreery
Mayor Lyda Krewson
County Executive Sam Page
Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia
Alderwoman Megan Green
St. Louis County Planning and Zoning
Southside Early Childhood Center
Missouri Jobs with Justice
National Council of Jewish Women
American Association of University Women
Women’s Foundation in Kansas City
Metropolitan Congregations United
Clark-Fox Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis

For updates on how you can be involved in our advocacy work, please sign up for our newsletter.

Join us for our next Seeking Solutions Symposium – Women in the Economy: An Underleveraged Powerhouse and Why it Matters to Businesses and Communities

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