Sallie Krawcheck Testifies for the House of Representatives
On September 24, 2019, Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate Network and CEO of Ellevest, testified in front of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion for a hearing on Examining the Racial and Gender Wealth Gap in America.
The hearing started with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty’s opening statement, as she noted,“The racial and gender wealth gap is real, unacceptable, and actually much larger than people think”. Beatty later addressed the systemic problems of U.S. institutions that have caused the wealth gap to not only exist, but impact generations. Next to speak, Congresswoman Ann Wagner, started her address by noting that, today, women are the breadwinner or co-breadwinner in nearly two thirds of households in the United States. Wagner continued:“Given these substantial gains in the percentage of women participating in the workforce and growing our economy, we must ensure that women have equal access to opportunities to support their families, save for the future, and build assets”.
Testifying alongside Krawcheck were Kilolo Kijakazi, Director, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute; Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Chief of Race, Wealth and Community, National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Mariko Chang Pyle, Researcher, Author, and President, Mariko Chang Consulting, Inc.; and Lisa Cook, Professor of Economics, Michigan State University. The established list of witnesses covered topics including the racial wealth divide as it relates to structured racism, minority home ownership, entrepreneurship, motherhood wealth penalty, access to opportunity, and a call to action for bold policy changes.
During her testimony, Sallie Krawcheck focused on the gender wealth gap and its multifaceted origins:“This‘wealth gap’ is the result of numerous factors; there is the gender and racial pay gap, the‘pink tax’, the debt gap, the promotion gap, the domestic work gap. Add to those the gender investing gap, in which women keep 71 cents out of every dollar in cash — more than men do — thereby missing out on the returns that a diversified investment portfolio has historically provided”. Krawcheck also drew attention to the differences in the way young boys and girls are raised:“As children, still today, boys are taught to be brave, while girls are taught to be more well-behaved. Still today, boys at told they should make money, grow money, pursue money, while girls are told they should be careful with money, save money, budget money.[…] And still today, boys receive better grades in math at schools than girls do....for the same answers”.
As shared by Congresswomen Beatty and Wagner, witnesses Kijakazi, Asante-Muhammad, Pyle, Cook, and Krawcheck, the race and gender wealth gap still persists as one of the biggest issues facing America. It is only with radical policy changes and amplifying the voices of women and racial minorities that the wealth gap can be diminished. We can’t allow progress to continue to stall. When we say the gender pay gap is decades away from closing, we’re being both optimistic and exclusive: it’s decades away for white women. For Black women, the pay gap could take more than 100 years to close. For Latina women? Try more than 200 years. As Sallie Krawcheck’s testimony goes to show, organizations like Ellevate Network are being a part of the conversation with a diverse community of ambitious women who are ready and devoted to turning those numbers around.
Access the full hearing here.
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