The gender wealth gap is still very real. Women continue to earn less than men and are less likely to have savings to weather a financial storm. We serve women 18-62 years of age, 80% of whom live at or below the federal poverty level (FPL). Many women who seek WEN services are in transition, struggling with domestic violence and unstable housing. Many clients are single heads of households—the population most likely to live in poverty.
When you layer the impact of COVID-19 on employment and increased responsibilities at home, women need WEN programming now more than ever. Many women were forced to leave the job market temporarily to stay home with children, often supervising their online learning (Women in the Workplace, 2020). While jobs are now more plentiful, returning to the workplace is equally challenging. The high cost of childcare and lack of a support structure bring additional stress to women—particularly those living in poverty. It is often challenging for women to make future plans with continuing uncertainty regarding their own health and safety as well as the well-being of their children.
Women of color face these challenges and more at a higher rate. The percentage of women of color working in service sector jobs is disproportionate to the female population as a whole. In fact, the nation’s top 10 occupations held women of color are in the service sector. These jobs carry a higher burden of vulnerability to the virus.
The complexities of the previous two years underscore the need for a tailored approach to finding employment and achieving financial security for women. Women need support in making important decisions about childcare, work schedules, and returning safely to work. WEN’s client-centered, holistic approach supports women through quality programming and one-on-one support—helping them increase self-confidence and strength.
Finally, women need champions in their corner. When women come to WEN, they doubt their abilities, question their self-worth, and struggle to cope with change. Our program builds confidence and skills for women in areas that support long-term financial stability.
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