The Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City (WFGKC) has completed a two-part study designed to report on the state of women and girls in the Kansas City metro area.
The studies – titled “Her Voice” and “Her Reality” – are the result of a two-year effort in which survey analysis, focus groups, and individual interviews with key community stakeholders were conducted and used to gather information about the indicators that measure economic status and stability of women in the region, the current issues facing women and girls with a focus on economic self-sufficiency, and how to eliminate the barriers women and girls face in achieving long-term economic self-sufficiency.
A community forum, sponsored by The Women’s Foundation, was held at the Ewing Marion Kaufman Center on Friday, November 9, 2012, bringing together community members to discuss strategies for addressing key problems identified through the research study.
- Since 2008, there are 3.5 million more women living in poverty across the United States. In Kansas City, that number is 83,596.
- Females in the WFGKC target area experienced greater growth in poverty than did males. Johnson, Platte and Clay counties experienced the highest growth rate.
- 66% of the households living in poverty are headed by a woman and nine in ten include related children.
- Education is often the ticket to increased economic security. One quarter of women over 25 (238,969) in the Kansas City community have no education or training beyond high school.
- Males in the Kansas City region have higher median earnings then females. The average median earnings for males of all educational levels earn almost 1.4 times higher than females ($42,072 versus $30,366).
- The wage gap is greatest at higher educational levels and ranges from $5,507 for those in the service occupations to $38,149 for those in the healthcare practitioner and technical occupations.
- Our region’s women are struggling. Basic survival has become a powerful over-arching priority. The lack of basic shelter, food, transportation and access to healthcare makes it difficult for women to be on a successful path toward a secure future.
The Women’s Foundation first studied the needs of Kansas City women and girls in study released in 1992. In 2007, the study was replicated and expanded to provide a baseline for comparing how the needs of women and girls have changed. Now, twenty years later, “Her Voice” and “Her Reality” outline where women stand today. Specific findings focus on basic survival, financial literacy, career development, support for working women and the needs of the immigrant and refugee population.
The Committee solicited focus group participation of agency leaders from a broad array of social service, education, civic, employment and health agencies in the Kansas City region. The committee solicited community agencies to host consumer focus groups. Three agency leadership focus groups were held during the fall of 2011. 26 local agencies participated in the agency leadership focus groups. Eight consumer focus groups, with 126 individuals, were held from November 2011 to March 2012.
Click here to download a copy of Her Reality and Her Voice. You can also access the PowerPoint presentation from the Community Forum. In early 2013, The Women’s Foundation will release the third report – Her Future. This report will provide an action agenda that individuals, the community and The Women’s Foundation can adopt to improve the condition of the Kansas City region’s women and girls.
The Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas (WFGKC), the metro area’s voice for women and girls, has improved the lives of more than 50,000 women and girls through grants exceeding $2.5 million to programs targeting the needs of local women and girls, and has accumulated a $6.5 million endowment to continue its mission. WFGKC brings together money, ideas and action to create lasting change for women and girls, their families, and our community. We study the issues affecting local women and use what we learn to target action and funding to do the most good. Click here to see how we invest in programs that will help women and girls become more economic self-sufficient, which inevitably is investing in their future success.