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Fighting for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Bay Area

Today, women across the US are once again standing in solidarity and fighting for equity, justice and human rights. They’re participating in walkouts, marches and demonstrations to shine a spotlight on the barriers that hinder the economic advancement of women.

The fact is, the economic consequences of women earning 20 percent less than men are far-reaching.  According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), “equal pay would cut poverty among working women and their families by more than half and add $482 billion to the national economy.”

Here at United Way, we believe in the collective power of women and in empowering each other to accomplish more together. A growing force of 70,000+ diverse and global women known as Women United® is dedicated to creating a world of opportunity – for everyone.

In the Bay Area, Women United fights for women’s economic empowerment. As income inequality grows and homelessness rises, one in four Bay Area residents is living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet. In response, the United Way of Bay Area has set an audacious goal of cutting poverty in half by 2020.

In order to achieve their goal Women United is raising awareness about income inequality and the impacts of poverty in the Bay area. They’ve focused their efforts on United Way’s SparkPoint® Initiative to support more than 4,000 women and their families in achieving economic stability in 2016.

Through participating in SparkPoint, Maria cut her debt in half and saved enough to take her daughter on vacation to Disneyland. “I did work really hard and Diana helped me a lot,” Maria says. “I’m really happy about SparkPoint, and I’m so thankful they’re here for us.”

They’re also taking their message to policymakers- advocating for bills in the state legislature that advance United Way of Bay Area’s poverty-fighting mission. Last year, Women United advocated for a new EITC bill, AB 1847, which called for more extensive awareness campaigns and was passed by the California legislature last September.

In only four short years, Women United has raised more than $950,000 to support United Way of Bay Areas’s poverty fighting programs. 

But their work doesn’t stop there. United Way Bay Area’s women leaders are continuing their work this year by:

  • Creating Women United Fellowships for SparkPoint participants to continue their education.
  • Joining together with United Way women leaders from across California to advocate for important state legislation impacting women and their families.
  • Increasing visibility and awareness through unique engagement opportunities, such as holding a ‘Fences’ screening with producer Carol Shorenstein Hayes and marching in The San Francisco Women’s March.

Together, we will create lasting change to lift up entire communities and we will #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day. Join us!