According to U.S. Census Bureau figures from 2006, of the 37 million people living below the poverty line, 21 million of them are women. The Institute for Women's Policy Research reported that as of 2005, women in the U.S. earned only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. For women of color, the gap is even worse. Women account for 64% of minimum wage workers in the U.S., and 35% of American women work too few hours to participate in their company's retirement plan. Elderly women are 70% more likely to be poor than elderly men.
From the perspective of women's experience,
economic justice is more than a job. It is:
- earning a livable wage
- achieving pay equity
- establishing competitive wages in professions historically filled by women (such as education and human service)
- achieving financial literacy applicable to all stages of women's lives
- educating women about the power of their philanthropy.
The cycle will be broken. At all stages of their lives, women and their families will be afforded the systems and opportunities to thrive economically, resulting in the dismantling of poverty and its manifestations. The number of women holding public office in Western Massachusetts will increase on every level by substantial percentages. And women will recognize and use the power of their philanthropy to achieve social change impact.