Scaling real-world solutions that differentially impact women will shape an equitable future for all
Women’s history in America is the story of overcoming extensive discrimination. After more than 100 years of progress, today women expect the right to vote and equal opportunities in employment and education to achieve social and economic mobility. Yet, as our nation marks Women’s History Month, this is a story still being written. Even today, women in America are more likely to be poor than men, and women are poorer than men in all racial and ethnic groups. Despite decades of attention to the gender pay gap, women earn 82 cents on the dollar, compared to men.
At Blue Meridian Partners, we aim to advance economic and social mobility for families in poverty by investing in the powerful solutions offered by some of our nation’s most visionary social sector leaders. While gender is not the explicit focus of our work, it is no surprise that many of the organizations in which we invest address gender disparities, entrenched gender-based barriers, or simply serve populations that are majority female. For example, Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a home visitation program that supports first-time mothers affected by economic inequality starting in pregnancy through the first two years of their children’s lives. Four decades of randomized controlled trials and third-party evaluations have demonstrated NFP’s long-term impact, including reductions in pre-term births, infant mortality, child abuse and neglect, and increased labor force participation by mothers. Another example is Upstream USA, which increases women’s access to high-quality and patient-centered contraceptive care. Upstream USA enables health centers to provide bias-free access to a full range of contraceptive methods, addressing the root cause of unplanned pregnancy, one of the strongest predictors of intergenerational poverty.
Ensuring financial stability is one way to support women, who often lead lower-income households. Too often, women with children are unable to access the support intended to assist them and their families in a time of need. Several of the organizations in which we invest are addressing this very challenge. Code for America removes key barriers for eligible individuals, including women and families, to access social safety net programs such as SNAP and WIC. Compass Working Capital, through partnerships with affordable housing providers, helps households led by women residing in federally subsidized housing to build financial assets by facilitating enrollment in the Family Self-Sufficiency program. And, Per Scholas, with an eye toward leveling the playing field in the tech workforce, is growing gender and racial diversity by providing underrepresented adult job seekers, particularly those who identify as BIPOC and/or women, with the skills and networks necessary to launch well-paying careers.
By supporting these organizations and others, Blue Meridian’s investments are making a difference in women’s daily lives. To inspire generational change, a focus on women as a part of this work to improve life trajectories of young people and families in America is vital because of the essential roles they play in society and as leaders in families, communities, and companies. Collectively, we believe that our multi-year investments in evidence-based strategies will create meaningful change and a more equitable future.