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Economic Justice

Investing in wealth-building for women and girls means a stronger Minnesota for families and communities.

To realize economic justice, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota investments target the root conditions of economic justice through education, workforce development and job training, entrepreneurship, women of color-led businesses and organizations, and workplace policies to support the full lives and care of women, girls, and gender-expansive people.

Women in tech

What the Data Shows

Together, these challenges often mean housing insecurity, debt, and poverty.

Wage Gap Reduces Women’s Lifetime Earnings

Investing in women’s economic security means addressing the persistent gender wage gap. Our 2022 Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota research shows that the wage gap continues to shortchange all women and affects Latina, Black, and Native American women the most. That’s why we center communities in building strong pathways to economic prosperity

On average, Minnesota women make $0.81 for every dollar that men make, with significant differences among women depending on race or ethnicity. Closing the pay gap for Latina, Black, Somali, Hmong, and Native American women who make the least is our finish line.

Average wage salary income for women relative to white men:

Wage gap graph
CWGPP analysis of American Community Survey, 2017-21. Average earnings of full-time, year-round MN workers age 16+.

Workers in Service Jobs Have Fewer Benefits

Women remain disproportionately represented in lower-paid service occupations with limited to no benefits, and hold fewer jobs in the higher-paid STEM and construction trades.

Women make up 56% of Minnesota workers who are paid AT OR BELOW THE MINIMUM WAGE, even with advanced degrees

More Greater Minnesota women than Twin Cities metro women work minimum wage jobs. In 2022, 58% of minimum wage workers in Greater Minnesota and 54% of minimum wage workers in the Twin Cities metro area were women.

CWGPP analysis of Quarterly Employment Demographics data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Data from Q1-Q4 2022. Since the passage of higher minimum wage laws in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota now has four categories of minimum wage workers.

High-quality child care is out of reach for many Minnesota families, especially those headed by women.

Child care affordability and access present continued barriers for working women. Most Minnesota families spend far more on child care than the 7% of income recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The average cost of center-based infant care in Minnesota is more than the annual cost of college tuition at the University of Minnesota.

“The ability to build wealth is connected to the illusion that we all have the same access to choice, which is not true.”

Dr. Brittany Lewis
2020 Status of Women & Girls Research Presentation

Grantee-Partners Make an Impact

As a grantee-partner since 2016, Project DIVA International ensures Black girls
have a space to flourish. They exist to guide Black girls to self-discover without limits – to think, find alignment with their truth, and be financially successful.

“When we say we want a different narrative, these girls are creating it now.” 

Neda Kellogg
Founding Executive Director, Project DIVA International

Program Related Investments

The Women’s Foundation invests additional capital into communities through PRIs to maximize our endowment for greater community impact that benefits women, girls, and women entrepreneurs. WFM’s $1 million investment in PRIs has recycled over $10 million into statewide communities.

WFM PRIs support loan funds to nonprofits across the state that strengthen opportunities for women & girls, including to:

  • African Development Center
  • Entrepreneur Fund
  • Latino Economic Development Center
  • Northwest Minnesota Foundation
  • Propel Nonprofits

Latest Updates in Economic Justice

Related Funds & Research

We invest in and amplify women-led solutions to build leadership, increase life skills, boost academic success, and ensure post-secondary enrollment and pathways to economic justice.

Our Statewide Impact

Interactive Grants Map

Discover more about Women’s Foundation grantee-partners, statewide. Click on the icon in the upper right of the map to expand the legend and see other options for viewing. Use the drop-down menu in the legend to filter grantee-partners by fund, location, or impact area.

View a larger version of WFMN Grantee-Partner map created with eSpatial mapping software.

Explore Ways to Give

Your support fuels the innovative community-based, community-led work happening across the state. Explore our funding opportunities.