Gender inequality an ongoing issue

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COLUMBIA - Women have made a lot of progress in gender equality over the years, but a recent report says there is still a lot more work to do.

"People keep saying, ‘oh my gosh, why are you constantly hammering on this?'" Because it is everywhere. They just don't want to notice the ubiquity of it, because they might have to do something," women's rights advocate Seileach Corleigh said.

Nationally, women make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. According to a recent report by the Women's Foundation, women in Missouri face a more significant inequity, making 71 cents for every dollar a man makes.

The report highlights other main barriers for women, such as proper access to child care, healthcare and leadership positions.

Corleigh said there are many types of discrimination that still exist and they need to be addressed them one at a time.

A new bill to address income inequality amongst genders has been proposed by Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia.

Webber said the problem isn't just historically different jobs.

"Women who have graduated with the same majors in the same job fields are making less," he said.

Several national bills have made it illegal to pay women less for the same job. However, Webber said cultural norms cause inequality every day and his bill is aimed at addressing that.

"What we're trying to do is find some best practices that can attack those destructive norms and result in women being paid equal amounts, things like having more transparency and salaries within a company," Webber said.

Earlier this year, a national pay equity bill was blocked. Several GOP senators said pay equity has been addressed and the bill would have created unnecessary restrictions on businesses.

KOMU 8 News reached out to eight local Republican legislators about Webber's bill, all of whom either declined an interview or did not return our calls.

Corleigh said legislative improvements are always tough to come by, but understanding that gender inequality exists is a good first step.

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