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From barriers in education to a gender based pay gap that widens with race, women of color are significantly underrepresented in America's economic landscape. That reality has become even more apparent with the onset of COVID-19.
“While it is true that educational advancement provides an important pathway to opportunity in America, it is also critical to understand that wage differentials amongst African American women persist across every level of education. In other words, education is not a conduit to fair pay.” Nor is it a conduit to equal access to capital or opportunity for women entrepreneurs. -The Black Women’s Roundtable 2015 Report
In addition to policy, advocacy, and technical assistance the WEI offers two six-month long mentoring programs providing personal and leadership development training to cultivate, inspire, and empower young women and girls ages 14-24, and women entrepreneurs of color ages 20-40.
Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the nation, starting businesses at six times the national average, with many earning less than $28,000 annually. To learn more about our small business incubator program or the Young Professional Black Women's Mentoring Initiative click the link below.
Women and girls (especially women and girls of color) live at or below the national poverty level, are less likely to escape the poverty their born into, and are severely underrepresented in C-suite and executive level positions; often lacking the mentoring, leadership, and professional development critical to advancing their career and entrepreneurial endeavors.
According to reports from the Brookings Institute, Equal Pay Today, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and the National Women’s Law Center:
A. A Black woman high school graduate fails to earn as much as a white male dropout with a 9th grade education or less ($30,450 vs. $32,675).
B. Black women w/ Bachelor’s degrees earn about $10,000 less than White men with an Associate’s degree ($49,882 vs. $59,014).
C. It would take nearly two Black women college graduates to earn what the average White male college graduate earns by himself ($55,804 vs. $100,620).
D. More than 4 million family households in the US are headed by Black women. And 35% of all family households headed by Black women live below the poverty level. This means that more than 1.4 million households headed by Black women live in poverty.
The lack of accessibility to viable career pathways economically stunts minority communities, leaving professional Black women trailing their white male and female counterparts at alarming rates, despite their educational attainment. Wage differentials and career inequities also result in increased unemployment, underemployment, employment at poverty level wages, and wealth inequality; fostering a cycle of multi-generational concentrated poverty and limited access to home ownership, quality healthcare, and healthy families—all of which make for failing neighborhoods and perpetual poverty.
At the WEI we confront systemic racism, poverty, and racial inequality through policy, technical assistance, and programs focused on economic equity, job readiness, educational achievement, and entrepreneurism—positioning women and girls of color for long term success by improving their dignity, economic opportunity, and overall quality of life.
According to Black Enterprise, Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the nation, starting businesses at six times the national average. However access to capital, influential networks, mentoring and ancillary business, legal, and financial services are daunting challenges facing Black women entrepreneurs. The WEI is designed to encourage policy and a solutions-based approach to economic development training for women professionals and entrepreneurs of color.
Our 2021/2022 programming will:
1) Provide an environment for quality learning, leadership, and career development;
2) Identify and develop internship pathways that connect mentees to opportunities to build employable skills;
3) Provide participants with self-development reading materials;
4) Conduct emotional intelligence-based programming for women ages 14-40;
5) Conduct conversational intelligence-based programming for women ages 14-40;
6) Conduct quarterly salary negotiation trainings;
7) Conduct individual personality and emotional assessments (i.e., DISK and Passion);
8) Conduct a community presentation of graduates for sponsor recognition, project branding and community engagement. (Target 100+);
9) Host a leadership summit for women of color (Target 100+);
10) Host a Black Women’s Equal Pay Forum; and
11) Participate in the Congressional Black Caucus; providing mentees an opportunity to take a deeper dive on national and global policy issues impacting low-income and marginalized communities of color.
Mentoring and training initiatives (for ages 14-40) advance our mission and vision to create pay equity, opportunity, and economic sustainability for all women and girls while skillfully addressing the race and gender income gap through job training/readiness, improved interpersonal communication skills, internships, and identifiable pathways to entrepreneurism through professional development, technical assistance, and strategic alliances.
Black Women's Equal Pay Day is the number of days Black women must work into the new year in order to earn what their white, non-Hispanic, male colleagues earned last year. In 2018 Black women had to work eight months into 2018 (August 7, 2018) to have pay equity. See the 2018 Forum video below.