Wealth inequality for women in Philadelphia has grown through systems of wealth extraction such as structural racism, racialized patriarchy, and racialized capitalism. These systems have resulted in the top 1% of the population holding 47% of the nation’s wealth and their wealth continues to grow exponentially by extracting from the rest of us.
Structural racism is a legacy of legalized white supremacy. Laws and systems put in place with the intention of keeping power in the hands of white people have led to generations of disenfranchised people of color in this country.
Patriarchy places power in the hands of men and disempowers women. Racialized patriarchy separates people into a hierarchy using both gender and race, having the most consequential impact on women of color.
This idea states racialized exploitation and capital accumulation are mutually compounding, placing women of color in the most difficult position in our capitalist economy.
Even as higher education is opening the door to higher paying jobs, these jobs are not providing a wage that meets or exceeds the cost of inflation, reducing the ability of many women to afford basic needs. The primary cause is the machine of capital extraction that is at war against workers, always working to drive down labor income and those most impacted are women of color.
Student loan debt is an extractive policy. Those carrying debt are more likely to delay starting a family, buy a home, or save for retirement – all choices that reduce their ability to accumulate wealth. In reality, student loan debt forces women to cut back on consumption, savings, or most likely, both.
People with lower income and wealth are not bad at managing their money compared to their wealthy counterparts. They are facing societal and structural barriers keeping them from building wealth. Reframing how we think about wealth, and who deserves to prosper, is the first step in dismantling the oppressive system we live in today.
Of Philadelphia women surveyed, on average, over half said that they are the primary caregiver for at least one child or minor. When asked about the financial impact of primary caregiving, only 1 in 3 Philadelphia women feel they have the financial support they need to support their caregiving responsibilities.9
While more women than ever receive education at the highest levels, this doesn’t directly lead to higher economic success. In Philadelphia, ~50% of Hispanic and Black women surveyed have student loan debt, compared to 39% of White women.9
No Data Found
With more debt and increasing costs comes limited resources for wealth building such as investing.
The odds are stacked against women when seeking financial stability. The wage gap isn’t the whole picture. The wealth gap should also be considered.
Access to healthcare is not always by need, but rather by wealth. Similar to the idea of food deserts, there are also healthcare deserts, where residents don’t have access to regular healthcare.
The impact of needing healthcare is also important to note.
When women do not have access to quality healthcare, there is a financial impact for the economy.
In Philadelphia, nearly 3 of 5 (59%) surveyed Black women - the highest rate among the major racial groups represented in the study - said that they experience stress that impacts their physical health.9
Wealth is an individual experience that has no link to the resources of the neighborhood