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General Purposes

Women's Action to Gain Economic Security

  • Program Education
  • Program Area Expanding Economic Opportunity
  • Grant Amount $150,000
  • Grant Period January 1, 2002–December 31, 2004
  • Location Oakland, CA, United States
  • Geographic Focus San Francisco

About this grant

Many low-income Latina immigrants living in California’s Silicon Valley have minimal job experience and little education and provide sole support to their children. For some of these women, housecleaning is the first and only job they will hold in the United States. Yet, both the wages and working conditions in professional cleaning are very poor.Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES) was created to assist in the start-up of ecologically friendly housecleaning cooperatives. Multiyear funding will support the replication of several cooperatives in the Bay Area. Goals include creating between 75 and 100 cleaning jobs in the area; conducting market research for a third business cooperative in the San Jose or San Francisco areas; maintaining business integrity and environmental standards; advocating for pollution prevention in the community; and disseminating information about the model.WAGES, started in 1995, currently operates two housecleaning cooperatives staffed by Latinas. The women earn between $11 and $14 an hour with health benefits and the opportunity to become part owners of these independent businesses.