Working for Change

Emily Johnson, Associate Director of IPP, speaks with Kendall Seal, Research Director of the Women’s Foundation, at the Annual Event.

Wendy Doyle, CEO, and President of the Women’s Foundation presented Ann Curry, the award-winning Journalist and Executive Producer of “We’ll Meet Again”, a PBS series, as the keynote speaker at this year’s We Work for Change annual event.  IPP staff and about 2,000 attendees listened to Ms. Curry describe her #MeToo moment as a teenager when she talked her way out of a potential sexual assault by her boss, at her very first job.  The benefit, which was themed “Truth Tellers: Stories that Change the World” brought together hundreds of women, local leaders, and regional supporters at the Kaufmann Center in Kansas City, MO, where Ms. Curry shared her insights on gender disparity as a female reporter in the male-dominated arena of journalism.  She advocated for gender balance and quoted statistics similar to the data reported by the World Economic Forum in 2017, indicating that it would take 170 years, with current trends, to reach gender parity.

Presenter and beneficiary of the new law that reforms occupational licensing for hair braiders, Tameka Stigers, with her young daughter by her side, spoke of her educational attainment (she holds an MPA in Public Health), her struggle to obtain work in her field, and hindrances to her efforts to start her own hair braiding business as a woman subject to unfair licensing laws.

Wendy Doyle presented data points gleaned from research conducted by the Institute of Public Policy that describe the Status of Women in Missouri and work that remains to be done to progress towards gender parity in the region and the world.  The Appointments Project, which focuses on developing processes for a more inclusive environment, equal representation, comprehensive sexual harassment policies, and training, also seeks to promote women appointees to boards and commissions in the region.  The Women’s Foundation contracted with the Institute of Public Policy to produce a policy brief outlining model programs and best practices towards this end, which is forthcoming in November.