Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Challenges in the Year Ahead

By: Elizabeth de Renzy, Researcher & Data Analyst

Reading the news at the start of this year, I learned in Equality, a True Soul Food (NYT 1/1/2011) that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possesses a greater collective net worth than the bottom 90 percent.

Let that sink in…

Almost all of the people in America own collectively less than the wealthiest one percent! Trying to imagine this, I see a room of 100 people. If 90 of these people owned one car, the one hundredth would own more than ninety cars!

In reality though, we know that many of those ninety people wouldn’t even own a car or have enough to afford basic expenses such as medical care, housing, or food.

Inequality isn’t just a problem impacting the poorest of the poor. It impacts everyone, causing anxiety and distrust as well as mental and physical ailments such as heart disease, suicide, and cancer. There is much evidence that violent crime such as gang violence is directly related to inequality.

In 2010 Women’s Initiative helped 895 women become economically self-sufficient and create 3,818 jobs for themselves and others through their businesses but inequality still grew at a faster pace nationally. Our challenge in 2011 will be to scale our programs even faster, so every woman in the US will know she has the power to keep her family safe, build assets and achieve prosperity.

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