Women's Initiative for Self Employment
The economic justice movement has historically focused on income equality. To the extent that attention was given to assets, the assumption was that once families’ incomes are not consumed with basic needs, asset accrual will follow. While some gains have been made in narrowing the earnings gap, today wealth inequality is higher in the United States than any other industrialized country: the wealthiest one percent own one-third of the nation’s wealth. As with all inequality, it is important to recognize the racial and gendered elements of the disparity. In the United States, families of color own just one-tenth of what white families own.
Women’s Initiative is hosting its third annual business conference on Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at the Oakland Marriott Hotel. “Taking it to the Streets”, as this year’s theme suggests, will give attendees the tools and strategies to get noticed in the public eye. Entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to spend the day in sessions with the Bay Area's most influential businesswomen and participate in seminars that will energize their company. Women’s Initiative will honor Carol H. Williams and Susan Grant during this year’s leadership luncheon.
Traditional wage employment doesn’t work for everyone, and many people dream about the flexibility, earning potential, and control of being their own boss. Since 1988, Women’s Initiative for Self Employment (WI) has provided training, financing, and technical support to low-income women micro-entrepreneurs in the Bay Area. Clients come to WI for many reasons. Many find that they are unable to provide for themselves and their families in low-wage jobs, minimum wage is no living wage for Bay Area families. United Way finds that one of four Bay Area families—nearly half a million households—has income too low to pay for housing, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and taxes.1 This problem is particularly acute for immigrants with limited English abilities.