5 Organizations Helping Women Achieve Financial Stability and Success

Though the fight for gender equality has come a long way, women still face obstacles that require different solutions than those faced by men, and often the system is set up for them to fail. These organizations work in different ways to address inequality, whether it's on the other side of the world or in local communities, taking a hard look at the specific difficulties women face and working to create opportunities so everyone can have the chance to achieve financial stability. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Groups Providing Necessary Services for Women

Organization Headquarters Focus
Women's Foundation of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Offers grants, invests in research, lobbies for policy, and forges cross-sector partnerships to promote equal opportunity across Minnesota
Dining for Women Greenville, SC Global giving circle that funds grassroots projects to fight gender inequality in developing countries through small donations from local chapters
Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement Washington, D.C. Supports opportunities for women to secure adequate retirement income through research, educational workshops, and the publication of fact sheets, booklets, and a newsletter
Women's World Banking New York, NY Invests in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women and low-income families in more than 30 countries
Bottomless Closet New York, NY Empowers unemployed New York City women to enter the workforce by providing coaching, professional clothing, resume help, workshops, and mock interviews

The Minnesota Young Women's Cabinet

Percentage Of Women In The Workforce

The percentage of men & women in the civilian labor force over time, according to the U.S. Department of Labor

Year Women Men
1950 29.6% 70.4%
1960 33.4% 66.6%
1970 38.1% 61.9%
1980 42.5% 57.5%
1990 45.2% 54.8%
2000 46.5% 53.5%
2010 46.7% 53.3%

An Interview With the Founder of Bottomless Closet, Carolyn Huggins

In Depth

Despite the big strides the feminist movement has made toward gender equality, there still remains a large income gap between men and women. In response to this divergence, a number of institutions have emerged to help women achieve financial stability and success. This list, presented in no particular order, features organizations working across the country toward this goal.

At #1, The Women's Foundation of Minnesota invests in innovation to drive gender and racial equity in the Gopher State. The group pursues the vision of a world with equal opportunity where women and girls, and all people, hold the power to create and lead safe, prosperous lives. To do so, it makes grants, invests in research, lobbies for policy, and forges cross-sector partnerships to ensure community-based solutions across Minnesota.

Grantmaking funds are spread across six programs that welcome proposals from non-profit organizations, American Indian Nations, and unincorporated associations. Its research department conducts qualitative and quantitative assessments of the factors that prevent women in the state from thriving. Strategic political campaigns target the problems these studies identify. The foundation is also behind an initiative to boost solutions and leadership from female youth. Support these efforts by participating in one of the foundation's many donor programs.

The foundation is also behind an initiative to boost solutions and leadership from female youth.

For #2, it's Dining for Women. This is a global giving circle that funds grassroots projects working in developing countries to fight gender inequality. Since 2003, the group has invested more than six million dollars from donations that are, on average, quite small: about the amount you might spend for a weeknight dinner out. Such a collective-giving model supports the idea that modest contributions, aggregated together, can make a huge difference.

Local chapters of Dining for Women meet on a regular basis to share a meal together and discuss the featured grantees that will receive funds each month. The recipients are not charities, but organizations and projects that educate girls, teach women skills, help develop markets for their products, and fight the prevalent gender inequality in the world. Join by locating a branch in your area or founding a new chapter of your own.

#3 on the list is The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, dedicated to the education and advocacy that will improve long-term financial quality of life. Focused exclusively on the unique economic challenges that women face, WISER supports opportunities to secure adequate retirement income through research, workshops, and partnerships. It has also been the driving force behind a series of state and local events aimed at leveling the financial playing field across genders.

Focused exclusively on the unique economic challenges that women face, WISER supports opportunities to secure adequate retirement income through research, workshops, and partnerships.

The institute creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets, and a newsletter. In accessible language, these texts explain the complex issues surrounding Social Security, pensions and retirement plans, savings and investments, caregiving, divorce and widowhood, health and long-term care, and financial elder abuse. At the same time, the group's national education campaigns and workshops have educated thousands of people around the country about these challenges. Get involved by contributing funds or attending an event.

At #4, we've got Women's World Banking, which designs and invests in the financial solutions, institutions, and policy environments in emerging markets that create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities. It works with 49 institutions in 31 countries to reach low-income people with its services. The group's blueprint favors interventions within capitalist markets, seeking solutions that are commercially viable and providing firms with tools to create gender-diverse teams.

The organization's research uses behavioral science to develop local businesses that meet women's needs and which open markets for international corporations. Its leadership programs help institutions create inclusive workplaces to attract and retain diverse talent and to develop innovative financial products. The group also promotes what it calls gender-lens investing, boosting the idea that directing capital to female businesspeople yields both social and financial returns. Take action by becoming a member or participating in a leadership initiative.

Take action by becoming a member or participating in a leadership initiative.

Finishing things up at #5, Bottomless Closet has, for more than two decades, helped empower unemployed New York City women to enter the workforce and achieve success. With a philosophy of intra-gender solidarity, the organization was created in response to the obstacles that mothers on public assistance face in securing employment, particularly the lack of appropriate interview clothing and the dearth of self-confidence in presenting themselves professionally in an unfamiliar setting.

Participants in the program are paired up one-on-one with a volunteer career coach. The process begins in the boutique, where clients pick out professional clothing, shoes, and accessories that will help them give a sparkling first impression. From there, mentors review their resume to make sure it best reflects their individual skills and qualifications, and then conduct mock interviews. Help out as a donor, volunteer, or corporate sponsor.