What is Business Women of Missouri? Our mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. The national organization, the Federation of Business & Professional Women went bankrupt, and the foundation kept going (and) bought some of the assets. Because there’s no longer a national organization, we renamed our organization last year. We used to be the Missouri Federation of Business and Professional Women. We feel that by going with a new name, we have a new chance to (create) our organization as what we want it to be, instead of just following national guidelines of what it has to be. The organization was founded in this state in 1921, and the local chapter, Greater Ozarks Business Women of Missouri, dates back to 1985. We have more than 500 members in the state and 40 local chapters.
Who are Business Women of Missouri’s members? We have all kinds of members, from Realtors to bankers to postal workers, or anyone who holds a full-time job or has a business in their home. You have to be employed or retired from a business, though some of the criteria regarding employment only applies if you hold an office at the state level (or) at some of the chapters. We do have men who are members, but it’s mainly for women. We have politicians who are members. We meet once a month, and our dues are about $100.
What is a key hurdle for women in terms of workplace equity? We still don’t have, on the national level, an amendment to our Constitution that talks about pay equity. The statistics show that women earn about 75 cents on the dollar of what a male is paid, for the same position. If enough individual states pass it on the state level, then they could ratify it on the national level. There needs to be passage in 38 states, but there are 35, and Missouri is among the states that have not passed an amendment, though we continue to try every year.
Are men and women really that different in the workplace? I think we handle situations differently. My husband and I have compared how we handle situations. He’s quicker to make a decision and go with it, and if he has to fix it on the back end, at least he’s moving forward. I want to rationalize everything and look at all the ramifications and make a decision. His could be made so much earlier, but I may not have to fix anything. How we make decisions is probably the biggest difference.
How does Business Women of Missouri further its mission? We have an avenue through our newsletter to be able to send information out. We send out more than 1,000 of our newsletters to people in Missouri and to a few who have moved to another state. … We ask our members to keep in contact with their Congress representatives and state senators through letters and e-mails to let them know not to forget (an equal pay amendment) because it’s very important. We try to make sure people are informed about who to contact. On the state level, we really don’t have anybody who lobbies for us, because there are already lobbyists already out there for lots of different groups. On the national level, that was one of the main things BPW did. Different chapters have individual programs tied to our annual issues, which this year are believing in the power of women to achieve economic equity for all, to have political impact on the future and to end domestic violence.
What is your role with the group? I’m vice president at the state level and also for the local chapter. This year, my state role is mainly budget-related, setting the budget for our next year. We vote on officers every year, and April is when we have our state conference. Next year, I’ll be running for the president-elect position. As president-elect, you’re in charge of working with four regions in the state, and being that main liaison with each region director. Once you’re voted into (the president-elect) position, you don’t have to be voted on to become president, because you just move up. [[In-content Ad]]
Adrianna Norris became a first-time business owner with the opening of Finley River Chiropractic; PaPPo’s Pizzeria & Pub launched its newest location; and Huey Magoo’s opened its second store in the Ozarks.