FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 28, 2018

CONTACT:

Jen Euell, Program Director, Women’s Foundation of Montana

(406) 461-7695, jeneuell@mtcf.org

Women’s Foundation Announces Wage Gap Increase and New Grant Opportunity

Nonprofits working on women’s entrepreneurship, women’s leadership and STEAM Programs for girls encouraged to apply

HELENA, MONT.—The Women’s Foundation of Montana (WFM), a project of the Montana Community Foundation, announced new research indicates that despite significant gains in education and business ownership for women, the wage gap in Montana is growing. To reverse that trend, WFM will invest more than $50,000 in increasing the economic independence of Montana women and girls in the next year.

Women in Montana have made significant educational gains in the last 25 years, as 33% of women aged 25 and older now hold bachelor’s degrees or higher. This is an increase of about 10 percentage points over 2000. A growing share of Montana women are now employed in managerial or professional occupations, as this group now makes up 41.5 percent of all working women in the state. Nevertheless, women face a persistent, and recently widening, gender wage gap, earning about 70 cents to every dollar a man earns. At the current rate, this wage gap is not expected to close until 2084. Women’s poverty rate has risen very slightly from 14.4 percent in 2004 to 15 percent in 2016. These trends are even more pronounced for women of color. Women in our state also own a much smaller share of businesses than men. However, there has been growth in recent years, as 31.5 percent of businesses were held by women in 2015, up from 24.6 percent in 2007.

“We are proud of our history of investing more than $750,000 in creating a brighter future for Montana women and girls through the years,” says Women’s Foundation Program Director, Jen Euell.  “But this new data shows that we have far to go to reach equity for Montana women. We are so pleased to be able to offer this new opportunity for organizations across the state who are working with us towards this goal to gain the resources they need to succeed in their work through our 2018 grant cycle.”

The new grant funding will be focused on creating systemic change to improve the economic status of women, supporting programs that give girls the tools to be financially successful, and programs that improve women’s economic security. Funds will be awarded by the foundation’s board of advisors to nonprofit organizations that work to directly grow economic security for Montana women and girls through advocacy and programs such as job training, financial education, leadership and entrepreneurship programs, wage negotiation training and innovative STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming for girls. Preference is given to programs that show innovation, collaboration, and tangible, measurable results.

Letters of Intent will be accepted starting on April 1.  The deadline is April 30.

Application materials and research details are available at www.wfmontana.org.

The end result of the WFM grants statewide will be new opportunities for hundreds of Montana women and girls in financial education, leadership, entrepreneurship, wage-negotiation training and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming.

About the Women’s Foundation of Montana

Established in 1999, the Women’s Foundation of Montana is a component fund of the Montana Community Foundation working to grow the economic security of women and create a brighter future for girls in Montana. With a permanent endowment of more than $1 million, the foundation has awarded more than $750,000 to organizations improving the lives of women and girls in Montana. Find us at www.wfmontana.org and on Facebook. Learn more about the Montana Community Foundation at www.mtcf.org.

Read our newest Status of Women in Montana data (March 2018), as well as Equal Pay/Wage Gap research information here – Montana 2018