In March, Goldman Sachs revealed an ambitious program called "One Million Black Women" that aims to invest $10 billion in direct capital investment over the next decade in order to support Black women. Since that announcement, the organization has engaged in "listening sessions" to solicit input on the investments, companies and programs that would be most impactful in advancing the causes of racial and gender equity in the years ahead.
Additionally, the organization plans to set aside $100 million over the next decade for philanthropic ventures focused on serving African-American women.
"Black women are foundational to their families, communities and the US economy. Yet they face immense challenges -- such as being under-resourced, underpaid, and underfunded," said Goldman Sachs. "With a 20-year history of investing in Black communities, we've seen firsthand how access to capital and tools for Black women and their communities can level the playing field."
A Goldman Sachs research paper called "Black Womenomics" shows that white women as a group make 15% higher wages than Black women, and white men make 35% more. Simply by reducing that earnings gap and increasing the spending power of these women, annual US GDP could increase by as much as $450 billion and create as many as 1.7 million US jobs.
There's clearly a long way to go, as the median net wealth of a single Black woman is a staggering 92% less than a single white man. Furthermore, median net wealth for Black Americans with a college degree is six times lower than white Americans -- and 10 times lower for Black families than white families.
The significant wealth disparity in these statistics shows precisely why Goldman is focusing on this specific issue with such a large-scale, long-term effort and partnership with community leaders and organizations. Specific areas that are being explored right now including financial issues like employment and lending but also more foundational concerns like healthcare, education, housing and digital connectivity.
Advisors for One Million Black Women include Rosalind Brewer, chief executive officer of drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives at Apple Inc. The project's advisory council will also include Marc Morial, CEO of civil rights organization National Urban League, and a former New Orleans mayor.
In addition to these external efforts, Goldman Sachs is trying to practice what it preaches with internal diversity efforts to raise the profile of women and ethnic minorities within the firm itself. According to Goldman's most recent annual report, its 2020 analyst class was 55% women -- a "historic first" in a field that has traditionally been dominated by men. Additionally, Black talent made up 11%, Hispanic talent made up 17% and Asian talent made up 31%.
"But it’s not enough to recruit talent; we also need to make sure they can realize their potential," said Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David Solomon in the annual report. "Advancing diversity and inclusion is a priority of mine, and all of our people are committed to making even further progress in the year ahead."
For more information, visit One Million Black Women on Goldman Sachs' website.
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