Widening wealth inequality is a threat to the wellbeing and security of communities around the world. While the corporate profits and salaries of top executives continue to increase, the core of workers who provide vital and everyday services have yet to see their share of a fair distribution of wealth. A leading voice in this current movement speaking truth to power on the devastating consequences of wealth inequality is our very own Board Emerita, Abigail E. Disney. Our support of Abigail is worth repeating: we stand with her, and firmly believe in her efforts to fight for dignified, livable wages for all. It takes a special level of courage to speak candidly and from personal experience on what the impacts of extreme wealth are on society at large. Abigail’s bravery points to a larger theme that must be acknowledged: shifting the power dynamics of wealth requires those with privilege to acknowledge the inequality at hand and take a stand.
At the heart of this movement to address economic inequality sit the people who work tirelessly each day for the interests of corporations and the public good, yet struggle to cover basic necessities such as food, housing, childcare, and medical needs. Abigail spoke to this truth in a recent viral Twitter thread. “Anyone who contributes to the success of a profitable company and who works full time to do so should not go hungry, should not ration insulin, and should not have to sleep in a car,” she states. It is unthinkable that those working full time or multiple jobs would still be faced with the uncertainty, stresses, and anxieties that economic inequality can bring forth. The consequences of this are even more intensified and far-reaching when it comes to the experiences of women, people of color, those with disabilities and queer, trans and gender non-conforming communities. Economic inequality is not just another subject of public debate: it is a daily, lived experience that far too many are faced with.
The pressures of this crisis will require swift, concerted and intentional action. We cannot sit by idly as marginalized communities across New York City and beyond are denied the dignity of building lives that are secure, stable and safe. Shifting resources into the hands of those who are equally responsible for the success of a company does not deny or disregard the hard work of executive leadership. It is the fair and moral thing to do to reward employees for their contributions in building a company’s success. And as Abigail suggests, the need for a stronger distribution of resources is one that impacts every corner of life, including political and legislative interests. “We are increasingly a lopsided, barbell nation, where the middle class is shrinking, a very few, very affluent people own a great deal and the majority have relatively little,” she says. “What is more, as their wealth has grown, the super-rich have invested heavily in politicians, policies and social messaging to pad their already grotesque advantages.”
At The New York Women’s Foundation, we remain committed in the fight for an equitable future for all. We are proud to support the efforts of numerous grantee partners organizing for the benefit of women workers across New York City. By accelerating economic change, we take a stand for the future—for the women, young girls, families, and communities who deserve a bright, secure and just opportunity to succeed.