Employment & Income
Many elements contribute to the understanding of women’s employment and income. For this research, data were collected on women in the labor force, unemployment and income rates, and the wage gap between male and female workers.
Employment and income are important predictors of a woman’s ability to provide for herself and her family. However, women who participate in the paid labor force are commonly met with lower wages than men. This income disparity limits a woman’s ability to create, or maintain personal revenue and wealth which has lasting impact on her life. Read full summary…
In the United States, 19 percent of workers are employed part-time, and most of these part-time workers (64 percent) are women.1 The majority (70 percent) of women in the United States who have children under the age of 18 are in the paid labor force. Women with very young children are less likely to work outside of the home. Only 57 percent of women with children younger than three years of age are in the paid labor force.2
In Missouri, women make up 48 percent of the paid labor force, slightly higher than the national rate of 47 percent. Currently, 38 percent of women with disabilities are in the state’s workforce.3 Most Missouri working women are employed in business, services, and sales occupations, with fewer working in production, transportation, or construction jobs. As a percentage of all workers, the majority of sales, office, and service jobs are held by women,4 closely reflecting the situation nationally.
Regardless of occupation, women working in Missouri earn less money than men for the same work. This income disparity is quantified by using an income ratio, which measures the gap in earnings between the sexes. According to the American Community survey, between 2008 and 2012, the median income of full-time, year-round male workers in Missouri was $32,824, compared to $23,260 for women, an income ratio of 0.71.5 In other words, full-time, year-round female workers earned 71 percent of men’s earnings, creating a “wage gap” between men’s and women’s incomes. Missouri’s wage gap is quite a bit larger than the national average. According to the Current Population Survey (CPS), the median income for U.S. men was $50,033 and $39,157 for U.S. women, meaning women’s earnings are 78 percent of men’s.6 It is important to note that the CPS is a joint effort sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
In Missouri, counties with the state’s largest population centers have higher median individual incomes for both men and women, and have income ratios above the state’s median ratio of 0.71. In these counties, which include the cities of St. Louis, Jefferson City, Springfield, and Kansas City, women are closer to income parity with men. However, two-thirds of Missouri’s counties, mostly in the Northwest and Southeast regions of the state, have income ratios below this threshold, so women working in those counties experience a larger pay gap than the state’s median. This gap is widest in Carroll County, where women have incomes that are just 51 percent of male incomes.
Research shows that many complex factors have created this disparity. For example, some female dominated professions, such as care-giving and hospitality, are often associated with lower wages than male-dominated professions, such as engineering and computer sciences. Also, becoming a parent has a negative effect on a woman’s wages. This is due, in part, to the number of women who leave the workforce or reduce their work hours to meet their care-giving responsibilities, but also is due to employers being less likely to hire women with children and to pay lower salaries to those mothers who are hired. Men who become parents do not experience a similar pay penalty.7
Variable factors such as these, however, do not provide a full explanation for pay disparity between men and women. While choices in educational attainment, career fields, and personal choices can contribute to differences in income between men and women, studies which control for divergent life paths have found that, all things being equal, women still are paid less than men for the same work. With few exceptions, this income gap persists across racial and ethnic groups, age, educational level and occupation.8,,9,10,11
Unemployment rates in Missouri are lower than national unemployment rates for both men and women. Women in Missouri are less likely to be unemployed than are men. In 2013, unemployment rates in both Missouri and in the United States were lower than at any point since 2010.12
Map Monthly Unemployment Rates.
 Ibid. The income ratio for all of the United States from 2008-2013 was also 0.71.  U.S. Census Bureau, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013,” p. 10  Correll, Shelley J., and Stephen Benard. (2007). Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty? American Journal of Sociology 112 (5): 1297-1338.  U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey.  Current Popluation Survey, reported in U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (October 2013). Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2012. Table 1. www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2012.pdf.  Current Population Survey, reported in U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (February 2013). Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. Table 17. www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2012.pdf.  U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Current Population Survey annual average data tables. Table 39. www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.pdf.  U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2008-2013.  Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat08.html, “2013 Household Data Annual Averages: Employed and unemployed full-and part-time workers by age, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.” Part-time work is defined as 35 or fewer hours per week.  Department of Labor, http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/recentfacts.htm  U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2008-2013.  Ibid.
Education & Child Care
For the purpose of this report, the educational and child care realities of women in Missouri are investigated using data on female educational attainment, access to accredited child care, and grandparents as caregivers.
Educational attainment is a predictor of a women’s ability to materially and financially provide for her children. Data has consistently shown that education, specifically two and four year college degree programs, can lift women from poverty, although there are barriers.1 For example, lower income women on social assistance are limited to only 12 months of vocational training and there are few support services available (i.e. transportation and child care) to help women succeed in new training endeavors. Education is not just critical to earning an income, but it also affects women’s health and daily lives. Women with less education, especially older black women, are more likely to be less healthy than their more educated counterparts.2 Read full summary…
According to one-year 2013 data from the American Community Survey, 11.7 percent of Missouri females 25 years old or older do not have a high school degree, which compares favorably with the U.S. as a whole (at 13 percent), and generally, women achieve high school diplomas at higher rates than men. The worst performing area of Missouri is the Bootheel region. Here, 21.7 percent of women do not have high school diplomas. As of 2013, 27 percent of Missouri females hold at least a bachelor’s degree while across the U.S., females perform better at 29 percent.
Access to accredited child care centers
Women from rural and urban settings, and across all socio economic levels, rely on child care. Child care facilitates the ability of women to enter and remain in the labor force. However, many families are faced with difficult child care decisions due to a lack of information. Missouri is the only state without a quality rating system and improvement system in place. Therefore Missouri parents, as consumers of child care, do not have much quality related information to make decisions.
A quality rating and improvement system of child care would give parents more information and help inform their child care choices. However, Missouri does not have such a system. Therefore, until a quality rating system is in place, accreditation status may serve as an alternate indicator of quality child care. The state of Missouri provides licenses for family child homes and child care centers in every corner of the state, however, licensure is separate from quality rating systems. After weighing cost and convenience, some parents use accreditation status as a proxy measure for quality. Likewise, child care centers weigh the cost and convenience of entering into the accreditation process because it is indeed voluntary, and it is separate from Missouri Licensing. The individual centers take on the significant monetary cost to achieve accreditation status plus fees for annual renewals. These costs are likely passed along to the consumers of child care.
When licensed child care centers elect into accreditation, they submit to a process which includes outside observation, curriculum validation, examination of the physical environment, and evaluation of the leadership/management of the center. The main accreditation granting bodies in Missouri are: the Missouri Accreditation of Programs for Children and Youth (MOA), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). Across the state, 27 percent of counties (31) do not have a MOA, NAEYC, or NAFCC accredited child care center. The majority of accredited centers are located in the greater Kansas City and St. Louis areas, but the three Missouri counties with the highest per capita of children (age 0-4), have zero accredited child care options. Those counties are: McDonald, Pemiscot, and Scotland.
Examining the distribution of accredited child care centers raises the broader question of uniform quality standards and its role in the child care industry. So long as the accreditation process remains voluntary, Missouri parents will have no measure by which to gauge the quality of care between child care providers. Parents use accreditation as a proxy measure for quality which not only emphasizes the importance of quality, but demonstrates the need for a quality rating and improvement system in Missouri in order to differentiate among childcare providers.
Grandparents as Caregivers
Female employment, single parent homes, and the high cost of child care has changed the role grandparents have in rearing grandchildren. According to the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of all children in the United States live with a grandparent in their homes and approximately 2.7 million grandparent caregivers have primary responsibility for their grandchildren.3 Of children living with a grandparent, approximately 45 percent live only with a grandmother, and black children are even more likely to live with only a grandparent compared to children of other races.4 This shift in caretaking responsibility from parent to grandparent affects the children they are raising. Research shows that children living with their grandparents are more likely to be poor than children living in a parent-maintained home.5
In 2012, 4.8 percent of U.S. households report being a grandparent-headed household with a child (or children) present for which they are responsible. In Missouri, it appears grandparent care of this type is more common in rural areas. The Bootheel region sees rates as high as 7.1 percent while other rural counties, from all regions of the state, lie well above the Missouri average of 4.23 percent.
Footnotes  Pandey, S. et al (2000. December) The Higher Education Option for Poor Women with Children. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 27(4). 109-170  Hinze, S., Lin, J., & Anderssson, T. (2012). Can We Capture the Intersections? Older Black Women, Education, and Health. Women’s Health Issues 22(1). 91-98 US Census Bureau. 2012. “Coresident Grandparents and Their Grandchildren”.  Ibid  Ibid
Throughout the research process, data were collected on births, infant mortality and birth weights, cancer screenings and incidences of cancer, morbidity and mortality, domestic violence and access to health insurance. Collectively, these data help describe the status of women in terms of health. Read full summary…
Healthy birth weights and infant mortality are indicators of women properly seeking adequate prenatal medical services. Infant mortality is prevalent when expecting mothers have less access to physicians and, even when controlling for income and socioeconomic factors, access to prenatal care remained the key factor in reducing infant mortality.1 The Missouri rate for infant mortality is 7.2 per 1,000 live births, slightly higher than the United States rate of 6.52 per 1,000. The six Missouri counties with the highest infant mortality rates are: Putnam (17.8), Ripley (16.5), Carter (14.7), Ralls (14.3), Holt (13.8), and Chariton (13.3).
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ MICA dataset2, in 2011-2012, the rate of low birth weight babies born in Missouri was 7.8 per 1,000 births. There is a wide variation in rates between Missouri counties. Knox County reported a rate of just 1.9 low birth weight babies for every 1,000. In contrast, Mississippi, Dunklin, and Ozark Counties report a rate of 11 and 12 low birth weight babies per 1,000. The highest incidences of low birth weight babies occur in St. Louis City (12.1).
Incidences of Cancer
Cancer screenings are vital for women for the early detection of life threatening cancers. Data from the State Cancer Profiles for 2006-2010 regarding breast cancer, the most common form of cancer affecting women, indicates that Missouri had an annual incidence rate of 122.6 per every 100,000 women in the state. This rate is very similar to the national rate of 122.7 per every 100,000 women nationwide. Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting women, and unfortunately, there is a racial disparity in the detection and deadliness of this disease.3 Black and Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more likely to succumb to it than their white counterparts.4 According to the Centers for Disease Control, 76 percent of women in Missouri and 78 percent of women in the United States report that they have had a pap test to screen for cervical cancer in the last three years. Some Missouri counties, such as St. Charles and Monroe counties report as many as 88 percent of their female population are getting tested regularly. However, there are other counties (Harrison, Webster, Texas, Lynn, and Newton) where only 52-61 percent of women report a pap test in the last three years.
Morbidity and Mortality
Morbidity, or incidence of disease, is slightly higher for women in Missouri compared to men. Women have a morbidity rate of 1,290 per 100,000 people and men have a rate of 1,025 per 100,000. However, the mortality rate for men in Missouri is much higher than women’s at a rate of 1,035 per 100,000 for men and 715.9 for women. According to the CDC, the national mortality rate for all persons is 807.3 per 100,000 people nationwide5.
Domestic violence also compromises the health and well-being of women and their families. Victims of domestic violence suffer from both physical and mental health problems.6 According to MICA data from 2008-2012, the rate of females who were assaulted by their spouse or partner was 68.3 per 100,000 people. Ninety Missouri Counties reported rates less than the state rate, with 35 counties at half or less of the state rate. However, four counties (Buchanan 152.1, St. Louis City, 156.9, Washington, 168.4, and Ripley 196) had an assault rate more than double of the state rate per 100,000.
Access to Health Insurance
The ability to access and pay for health care services correlates to women’s long-term health outcomes and quality of life, which can be associated with her socio-economic status and signals her ability to obtain health insurance and receive quality care. For many women in Missouri, affordable healthcare is an immediate concern. According to ACS five-year data, 13.56 percent of Missourians are uninsured. While the national average is slightly higher at 14.77 percent, there are pockets of Missouri with extremely high rates of uninsured individuals. Eleven Missouri counties have an uninsured population of more than 18 percent, and in four counties (Barry, McDonald, Stone, and Taney) more than 21 percent of the county population is uninsured, see Figure 2.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 expanded healthcare coverage to some Missouri individuals and families by enrolling 152,335 (55 percent female), in the federal healthcare exchange by the close of enrollment in March of 20147. However, 650,000 Missourians remain without health insurance.
 Shi, L., et al. (2004). Primary care, infant mortality, and low birth weight in the states of the USA. Epidemiol Community Health 58, 374–380  Missouri Information for Community Assessment, 2013. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services  Watson, M., et al. (2008 November). Burden of Cervical Cancer in the United States, 1998-2003. American Cancer Society 113 (10). 2855-2864.  Ibid 1  Fast Stats. Center for Disease Control, Retrieved 12/3/14 from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm.  Campbell, Jacquelyn. (2002). Health Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence. The Lancet, Volume 359. 1331-1336.  How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of Missouri. (2014, Sept.). US Department of Health and Human Services, Retrieved October 7th, 2014, from http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/bystate/mo.html
Social & Economic Status
Poverty often is used to describe the socio-economic realities of women in Missouri. In addition, data on participation in social assistance programs and women with disabilities contribute to the understanding of the social and economic status of women.
Poor women are more vulnerable than the general population; they tend to face more unpredictable and life-threatening events than their wealthier counterparts. Poverty does not simply correlate to an inadequacy of wealth, but also to poor health. Impoverished women are highly likely to suffer from depression and other negative health outcomes.
There are almost 950,000 Missourians living in poverty, 55 percent (or 520,833) of whom are women. In Missouri, 17.41 percent of all women are in poverty, a rate similar to that of the nation (at 17.18 percent). Poverty is mainly concentrated in the larger urban areas of Missouri such as in St. Louis City where the poverty rate is 29 percent. However, rural areas also struggle with poverty as in Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Laclede, and Polk Counties, where more than 23 percent of the counties’ populations live in poverty. Read full summary…
Elderly women aged 65 years or older in Missouri, as in the U.S. as a whole, are disproportionately living in poverty compared to their male counterparts. American Community Survey one-year data for 2012 indicates that of Missouri senior citizens living in poverty, 67 percent are women. In several counties, 16 percent of the total female population over 65 lives in poverty compared to just nine percent of males in the same age group. The state and much of the county-level data shows that elderly women are more often in poverty than elderly males.
Female heads of households with children under 18 are more often in poverty than married households. In Missouri in 2013, 8.2 percent of married households with children under 18 live below the poverty level compared to 41.7 percent female headed households (with no husband present).
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is a federal program that supports millions of low income families fighting hunger. SNAP aims to reduce food insecurity and help low-income families live on a more nutritious diet. Research shows that SNAP benefits are associated with a 30 percent reduction in the likelihood of being food insecure, and reduces one’s likelihood to be very food insecure by 20 percent.1
Approximately 47 percent of SNAP recipients are children, suggesting that this program is necessary for the protection of especially vulnerable populations.2 In Missouri, there are 346,528 households receiving SNAP benefits. Of those, 34 percent of the recipients reside in female-headed households, similar to the US average of 36 percent.
Women, Infants, and Children or “WIC” is a public nutrition program for low-income women and their children aged 5 or younger.3 The program grants federal funds for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and breastfeeding education. In Missouri there are 42,823 infants and 101,723 children certified to receive WIC benefits.
Lower income families in these circumstances often rely on their children’s free or reduced lunch programs during the school year. Free or reduced school lunch programs can free-up income for other household and childrearing expenses. However, school lunches are not served during summer months and food insecurity can become a very serious concern for parents. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a USDA funded program that provides nutritious meals to children and youth that normally would receive free or reduced lunch during the school year. SFSP sites are located in areas with significant concentrations of low-income families.4 The program was created to fill a gap in services. When low-income children are not attending school, they may not have access to nutritious meals. One may view this program as a safeguard. However, as outlined by the USDA, summer food sites are only for areas with “significant” concentrations of low-income children, suggesting that areas with less concentration of low-income children, i.e. rural communities, are less likely to benefit from this program; SFSP sites are generally given to areas where approximately 50 percent of children meet the income standards (this is generally determined by examining the census).5 In Missouri, there are currently 1,026 summer food sites which provide lunch to children in poverty during the summer.
Women with Disabilities
A physical or mental disability can have a dramatic effect on a woman’s social and economic status. Research shows that women, at older ages, are more likely to be disabled than men.6 Poverty, living alone, obesity, and depression were also found to be commonly associated with disability.7 Women with lower extremity disabilities were also found to have less access to health care; they received less preventative treatment including Pap tests and mammograms, than non-disabled women.8 In Missouri, 14.22 percent of females, or 431,007 women in the state are disabled, compared with 12 percent in the US. Counties with large populations of individuals with disabilities need to have the appropriate independent living, job readiness and healthcare services in place to assist the population.
Map Female Disabled Population.
Belle Doucet, D. (2003). Poverty, inequality, and discrimination as sources of depression among US women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 27(2), 101-113. Ibid 1 Ratcliffe, C., McKernan, S. M., & Zhang, S. (2011). How much does the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program reduce food insecurity? American Journal of Agricultural Economics, aar026. Ibid 7 Jacobson, L. T., Twumasi-Ankrah, P., Redmond, M. L., Ablah, E., Hines, R. B., Johnston, J., & Collins, T. C. (2014). Characteristics Associated with Breastfeeding Behaviors Among Urban Versus Rural Women Enrolled in the Kansas WIC Program. Maternal and child health journal, 1-12. US Department of Agriculture, href=”http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp”>http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp Ibid 1 Tezzoni, L. I., McCarthy, E. P., Davis, R. B., Harris-David, L., & O’Day, B. (2001). Use of screening and preventive services among women with disabilities. American Journal of Medical Quality, 16(4), 135-144. Ibid 5 Ibid 5
Leadership & Public Engagement
For this analysis of women’s leadership and public engagement in Missouri, data were collected on women’s political representation, volunteerism and voter turnout.
Analysis of women’s leadership and public engagement in Missouri relies upon data reflecting women’s political representation, volunteerism, and voter turnout. Read full summary…
In Missouri, 31 percent of residents volunteer in some way, which is higher than the national participation rate of 25 percent.1 In the United States, more women volunteer than men (28 percent and 22 percent, respectively), and working mothers volunteer at a significantly higher rate than the population as a whole. 2,3 Women are also more likely to vote than men. In Missouri, 65 percent of women vote, which is a larger percentage than men in Missouri, and a larger percentage than women and men nationwide.4
While more women than men volunteer in their communities and vote in elections, far fewer women than men serve in elected office. Political gatekeepers, such as party leaders, elected officials, and nonelected political activists, often recruit candidates for statewide office from the pool of local officeholders, as well as from leaders in professions such as law, business, and education. Similarly, candidates for national office are likely to be recruited from the ranks of statewide office holders. The beneficiaries of this pipeline to political office historically have been men, resulting in an American political arena controlled almost exclusively by men. 5,6,7
When women are elected to public office, they are empowered to help shape the lives of all women by informing sound policy. Further, some research suggests that women are more effective legislators due to their willingness to work across party lines to achieve policy goals.8 Nevertheless, in the 2015 legislative session, and despite comprising 51 percent of Missouri’s population, women hold only 26 percent of the 163 seats in the Missouri House of Representatives, and only 18 percent of the 34 seats in the Missouri Senate. 9 Most of the women elected represent urban areas:
Once in office, women of the Missouri General Assembly have been successful at attaining positions of leadership. For the 2014 legislative session, women held six of the 14 House leadership positions (43 percent), and three of the ten Senate leadership positions (30 percent), including both the majority and minority caucuses.10 During the 2015 session, the leadership positions may change. Through volunteering and voting, women in Missouri are already more engaged in the public arena than men. Increasing the number of women who run for and are elected to local and state political office will add more women to the political pipeline, which is an important step toward gender parity and equal power in local, state, and national government.
 U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.bls.gov/, Current Population Survey: 2012  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, “Volunteering in the United States – 2013,” http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/volun.pdf  Corporation for National & Community Service, “Volunteering and Civic Life in America,” http://www.nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/research-and-reports/volunteering-america  U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.bls.gov/, Current Population Survey: 2012  Data source for U.S. Congress and governors: Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics, “2014: Not a Landmark Year for Women Despite Some Notable Firsts,” updated 11/6/2014, http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/press_room/news/documents/PressRelease_11-05-14-electionresults.pdf  Data source for state legislators is preliminary post-election data for 2015 from the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Women in State Legislatures for 2015,” updated 11/10/2014, http://www.ncsl.org/legislators-staff/legislators/womens-legislative-network/women-in-state-legislatures-for-2015.aspx  Data source for mayors: Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics, “Facts on Women Officeholders, Candidates and Voters,” http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/index.php  Volden, Craig, Wiseman, Alan, and Wittmer, Dana, “On Average, women in Congress are more effective lawmakers than men.” The London School of Economic and Political Science blog, http://bit.ly/18dTecx  Missouri Secretary of State “General Assembly Roster 2014,” pp. 6 – 12; 18-47. http://www.sos.mo.gov/pubs/2014GARoster/2014GARoster.pdf  Ibid. As of the issuance date of this report, legislative leaders for the 2015 session had not yet been elected.