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COVID-19, child care ‘significant barrier’ for Missouri women: Doyle


U.S. Senator Kamala Harris could become the first women to serve as vice president of the United States — and United WE is working to pave the way for even more women to serve in the top echelons of government. 

Wendy Doyle, president and CEO of United WE, said the nonpartisan organization is working to “build that confidence” and break down barriers that could hinder women from running for office. United WE specifically tackles those issues through its Appointments Project which serves to catapult women onto local civic boards and commissions. 

 “If we do our job right and build that confidence in women to engage and understand the process of serving at that capacity, we hope that women may want to go on and run for elected office,” Doyle told The Missouri Times. “We’re essentially building the pipeline to encourage more women to run for elected office.” 

“Missouri needs that. We need women’s voices at the policymaking table,” Doyle said. “When you have diversity around the table of opinions and perspectives, that’s when you can make the best decision possible for that community — city, county or state level.”

Aside from the typical barriers United WE sees — from just how expensive elections are to personal attacks on families — the COVID-19 pandemic has also been a deterrent for women running from office as it’s added to the burden of child care. 

“[COVID-19 is] really putting women who are working women in a position to have to choose between work and family,” she said. “We’ve seen a significant increase here in Missouri, but also across the country, of women filing unemployment claims because of that very reason.” 

“I see this as a significant barrier in Missouri.”

From greater paid family leave opportunities to a women as Missouri’s chief executive to what she prefers to eat and drink on Election Night, check out Doyle’s full interview below.