In 2004, Missouri fared poorly in the Institute for Women’s Policy Research state-by-state report on the status of American women. The news came as a shock to Kristin, a faculty member at the University of Missouri School of Nursing, who also maintains a local practice.

‘I remember thinking, ‘Wow, Missouri got a C on the IWPR report,’ she says. ‘There were a whole lot of people who did worse but a whole lot who did better. Out of that report grew this core group of women who have kept alive that spirit of, ‘what are we going to do to make this better; how are we going to move this forward?’

As part of her doctoral dissertation research, Kristin founded the [Women’s Policy] Alliance in hopes that the organization could work toward solutions to the problems highlighted in the IWPR report while continuing to gauge women’s progress across the state. She secured funding from a number of sources, including the Missouri Women’s Council and the Women’s Labor Bureau.

‘Some states have done status updates stemming from the IWPR report, but they’ve taken on specific domains,’ Kristin says. ‘We took it all head-on because you can’t talk about education and not talk about health care; you can’t talk about the work force and economic equality and not talk about health care. You can’t focus on and fix one thing — it has to be a bigger picture. If you don’t look at bigger picture, you’re not going to move the status of women forward.’”