A female-led task force will begin advocating for women’s economic well-being in Missouri.
The Missouri Women’s Economic Development Task Force includes 18 elected officials and figures from across the state, including Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin.
“It’s a great opportunity for women in leadership from around the state to come together and talk about how we can grow our state and work on economic development issues,” Tergin said. “By working together, we’ll really be able to go far and have a big influence around the state.”
The initiative is launched by United Women’s Empowerment, a Kansas City-based organization aimed at advancing women’s economic and civic efforts. The task force will focus on gender pay equity, workforce policies, access to health care and other topics.
Tergin said she is excited to discuss various issues from around the state and find solutions to implement in each community.
One of the task force’s main goals is to assist women in getting leadership roles around the state.
Tergin encourages women to serve on boards and commissions to help influence growth in their communities. As a mayor and small-business owner — she owns Carrie’s Hallmark Shop in downtown Jefferson City — Tergin said she has a unique perspective on the impact women have on the economy.
“Whether it’s through workforce or education or civic involvement, those are all really important factors,” Tergin said. “If we get together and encourage women, we can showcase some of those opportunities and benefits to draw attention and awareness to the importance of having women in those roles.”
The task force recently had its first meeting, and it will have seven town hall discussions the rest of the year to collect information from women in Missouri.
A news release announcing the task force referred to a McKinsey Global Institute report that claimed Missouri’s economy could grow by up to 15 percent by 2025 if women’s workforce participation increased. In the report, Missouri scored poorly among other states in political representation by women and the amount of single mothers.
“The strength of Missouri’s economy and democracy depends upon women’s full participation,” said Wendy Doyle, United Women’s Empowerment President and CEO. “Too many women with the passion, talent and skills to lead remain on the sidelines because they face unnecessary obstacles such as occupational licensing, limited family leave, entrepreneurship restrictions and childcare. We aim to change that.”