Sunday, October 10, 2010

How Women's Initiative is a Key Player in the Fight against the Widening Income Disparity Gap in America


NPR reported last week about the growing income gap in America : “While almost everyone in America thinks of themselves as middle class, income disparities are wide and getting wider. While wages stagnated for almost everybody in the middle or even went down, the rich got richer these past 30 years. Venezuela and Nicaragua now have more equitable pay than the United States. Over time, the effect of these disparities and the narrowing of the social ladder can corrode faith that life is fair and that the rules make sense.” (You can listen to the full story here.)

Women’s Initiative is working to pull up low-income earners through our unique microenterprise training program, where our graduates learn to start and maintain their own businesses. This not only results in employment for them, but contributes to the building of an important personal asset – the business itself.

Business equity ranks second to homeownership as a share of overall household wealth in this country – so building the asset of their business is an important step toward vaulting past this gap. And business ownership is an asset which can be a bridge to home ownership.

Women’s Initiative focuses exclusively on training for low income women. For these women, particularly those with barriers to traditional wage employment, home ownership is often an unattainable dream. Yet through our program, where over 70% of our training graduates have been in business for over 5 years, building business equity – as a primary asset which can be leveraged to purchase a home – will help us in closing the wealth gap once and for all.