Case Study

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, Economic Security of Women

The Context

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio has been giving voice and visibility to the women and girls throughout central Ohio since 2001. Consistent with its mission to “transform the lives of women and girls, by mobilizing the collective power and passion of all women working together,” WFCO recently commissioned (in cooperation with Battelle, The Columbus Foundation, and Fifth Third Bank) an innovative research project to better understand how the concept of economic security is manifested among central Ohio women.

The Critical Question

How many central Ohio women are economically secure? What are some of the key factors that influence a woman’s economic security?

Our Solution

After reviewing a wide range of relevant literature, we obtained population and economic data for the counties that comprise central Ohio, analyzed these data, and used compelling visuals and narratives to communicate the key stories in the data.

Illumination

In a community conversation with the Columbus Metropolitan Club, we shared some of the key findings from this research, including that 1 in 4 female householders in central Ohio were not economically secure – meaning their household’s annual incomes were not high enough to provide for their basic needs. Family structure (e.g., female-headed households with very young children) and child care costs were identified as having a large impact on women’s economic security.

Resolution

This research is being used to support the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s efforts to convene meaningful community conversation regarding economic self-sufficiency, inform future grant-making efforts of the organization, and guide the development of programs, advocacy and further research.