Using data to drive change
When The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio was founded 20 years ago, data on women and their experience in Ohio did not exist. Today, information and insight is still limited. That’s why we commission original research to help uncover the unique barriers that women in Ohio face. Our research is foundational to our grantmaking and advocacy strategies. It’s also leveraged by policy makers to advance social change statewide.
Addressing the Gender and Racial Wealth Gap
Most recently in 2019, we released Assets for Equity: Building Wealth for Women in Central Ohio. This report broke down data and uncovered important insights about women’s wealth in Ohio for the very first time. Through the report, we were able to better understand the wealth gap and what would truly make economic security possible for women in Ohio. The report further highlighted the need to address systemic barriers to wealth for women and to center women of color in our investment strategy. Findings from this report continue to guide our grantmaking and inform our strategy to create gender equity in Central Ohio.
Understanding the Barriers
The GENDER WEALTH GAP refers to the disparity between what women own versus what men own (property, savings, investments, etc). While the gender wealth gap includes the gender pay gap, it is a more expansive view of wealth.
The RACIAL WEALTH GAP refers to the disparity specifically faced by women of color compared to white women and men due to the intersection of sexism and racism.
The WAGE GAP refers to income–such as wages or salary–and the disparity between what women are paid versus what men are paid.
The WEALTH GAP is more expansive and represents the disparity between what women own versus what men own. For example, when we look at national earnings, women as a whole have made important strides toward pay equity. However, when we look at overall wealth, women own significantly less than men. This is especially true for women of color who own mere cents on the dollar compared to single men.
Turning Insights Into Action
While addressing the wage gap is an important step to closing the wealth gap, addressing it alone won’t solve gender inequality. To thrive, women need to be able to build wealth. That’s why we focus on addressing the specific accelerators that would allow more women to build wealth in Central Ohio. Learn more about our grantmaking and advocacy.
Our History of Research-Driven Change
To stay on the cutting edge of the gender equity movement, we’re continually investigating issues that aren’t yet talked about in the mainstream. Throughout our first 20 years, we released several major reports that each played a critical role in shaping the narrative around gender equity in Central Ohio.
Count on Her
In 2004, we released Count on Her, the first gender-specific study conducted in Central Ohio. This report was made public to help inform policy making and local philanthropy and to spur more research about women. It also solidified economic self-sufficiency as an investment priority, which has helped guide our grantmaking strategy throughout the years.
In 2009, along with several partners, we launched the One Girl Initiative, a research collaborative that brought attention to the power and potential of girls. As part of the initiative, we released the groundbreaking One Girl research report. We also funded the One Girl collaborative partners, including Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, the Interprofessional Commission of Ohio, Ruling our eXperiences (ROX), the Mentoring Center, and the YWCA of Columbus.
In 2013, we released Womenomics, an investigation into the specific economic barriers that many women faced—and still face—in Central Ohio. This research emphasized the need to invest in wealth accelerators for women like access to childcare and transportation. It also informed the strategy of other community partners such as the Columbus Women’s Commission.
The Pervasive Power of Gender Norms
In 2016, we released The Pervasive Power of Gender Norms, a groundbreaking local study uncovering root causes of gender inequality. The research revealed that over 50% of Columbus respondents to the Harvard Implicit Association Test had a strong to moderate association with men to career and women to family. We learned that gender norms were at the very core of gender inequity. In response, we updated our grant application to ask applicants how they disrupt rigid gender norms. We also launched Gender By Us, our proprietary gender bias training tool.
Spark Reports Series
In 2018, we launched a series of Spark Reports to provide the community with easy access to data about three priority areas: childcare and the benefits cliff, the wage gap, and access to contraception and medically accurate sex education. This series helped us better understand how these priority areas impact a woman’s ability to achieve economic security and remain areas of high priority in our work today.