The voices of seven women have been added to Kansas City commissions or boards since the April launch of the Appointments Project.
The joint effort of the Kansas City Women’s Foundation and Mayor Sly James is designed to change the results of a previous study showing that women accounted for only one-third of the members of Kansas City’s civic commissions and boards.
The mayor announced this week that he has appointed Janelle Bailey, an attorney, to the Kansas City Municipal Officials Ethics Commission and Sarah Martin-Anderson, a health administration professor, to the Kansas City Health Commission.
Women’s Foundation president and chief executive Wendy Doyle led the creation of the Appointments Project to recruit and make women more aware of the opportunities for civic service. The project, in turn, suggests candidates to the city.
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Research for the foundation by Barbara Kerr, a counseling psychology professor at the University of Kansas, had indicated that women tended to believe they weren’t qualified to serve, that they wouldn’t be asked and that they couldn’t fit responsibilities into their already busy lives.
The Women’s Foundation decided to become a talent bank for qualified women and help guide them through applications for appointments. The foundation also is working to increase the diversity of civic appointments, which were found to be held by people who were white, comparatively wealthy, older and with grown children or unmarried.
In addition to the appointments of Bailey, a lawyer at Armstrong Teasdale, and Martin-Anderson, a professor at the UMKC Bloch School of Management, these five women have been chosen through the Appointments Project: Cecelia Carter for the Employees Retirement System board of trustees, Ajia Mignon for the Land Bank Agency, Amber Hackett for the Parks and Recreation Commission, Darline Henrius for the Youth Commission and Estela Montserrat Espitia-Cuellar for the Youth Commission.