Constructing a Gender Wealth Index For The Philidelphia Region

September 1, 2022


The WOMEN’S WAY Gender Wealth Institute (GWI) will launch a large-scale regional research campaign to identify and address key drivers of gender wealth inequity. We propose a multi-phase comprehensive research strategy that will culminate in the creation of the Philadelphia region’s (+Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery) first Gender Wealth Index. This research-enabled assessment tool will be comprised of quantifiable socioeconomic measures, co-constructed by system-impacted communities, designed to drive evidence-based action on policies and practices that enable gender wealth parity and will take into account the ongoing and lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GWI will conduct an annual review of the five dimensions of gender wealth over the next five years across the five-county region to clarify and communicate the gender wealth environment to policymakers and advocates.

To effectively position ourselves as a leading voice and force for transformational change for women in our region, particularly during COVID-19 recovery, the GWI must ground our strategies in what we know. This exploratory research study allows us to employ a robust and multi-phase research design to aid the strategic planning work of GWI, functioning as a backbone organization and facilitator of change with greater impact. This work will also serve as a critical source of data for practitioners, enabling them to coordinate and align efforts based off relevant and timely information.

The Gender Wealth Inequity research project was made possible by two lead investors.

Green Family Foundation:
WOMAN’S WAY is thrilled to announce that we are the proud recipient of a $125,000 grant from the Green Family Foundation. This generous support has provided WOMEN’S WAY with the necessary funds to launch the Gender Wealth Index Research Initiative in order to identify and address key drivers of gender wealth inequity and create the Philadelphia region’s first Gender Wealth Index.

Working For Women:
Thank you to our partner, Working for Women, who invested $20,000 from their Invest in Women Fund to launch the Gender Wealth Index research project. This initial funding was a crucial step to attract additional funding and make this project a reality.


WOMEN’S WAY has the leadership, resources, and networks to serve as the backbone institution supporting a large-scale regional qualitative study. The GWI Research Leadership Team is composed of the following:

  • Dr. Kendrick Davis will lead all phases of the research project. Dr. Davis currently serves as the Chief Research Officer with USC’s Center for Race and Equity, but as a former Director in the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Education, he maintains robust regional research leads trained in social and behavioral research.
  • Kelly Sheard, the Director of the Gender Wealth Institute, will serve as a link between WOMEN’S WAY and the research team.
  • The Gender Wealth Research Advisory Council is a group of informal advisors that commit their time and expertise to ensuring the practicality and integrity of the research processes and methodologies. They will also offer review of public-facing deliverables prior to dissemination.
  • WOMEN’S WAY network of partners who are positioned to help advise and guide the implementation of our research findings.


We plan to employ a multi-part mixed methods research effort to construct a composite indicator (index) of the gender wealth environment. This index will be constructed by the GWI research team through the following key activities:

  • Content review of existing policy research on the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic both nationally and locally
  • Collection and analysis of quantitative indicators representing the educational, economic, health, and environmental drivers of gender wealth inequality
  • Five-county wide qualitative field study that centers system-impacted women as the experts of their own experiences and agents of change
  • Expert review of outcomes and findings for forming and vetting relevant policy and practice recommendations and strategic communications
  • What is the extent of wealth accumulation and distribution among women in our region?
  • Which drivers of wealth inequality most contribute to unsatisfactory economic, educational, health, and social outcomes for women in our target region?
  • What are the major accelerators of gender wealth inequity catalyzed by the ongoing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) global pandemic?
  • How and to what extent do those drivers impact women differently at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities (e.g., black, trans, low-income, unhoused, Asian American, Latinx, immigrant, etc.) differently?
  • What solutions already exist within impacted communities for addressing gender wealth inequities that can form the basis for new policy alternatives?


WOMEN’S WAY will work closely with the research team to oversee and manage the three phases of the project. Our primary role in phases I and II is to co-lead the project, connecting the research team with our partners and stakeholders, particularly as it relates to centering the voices of women with lived experience around economic insecurity.

In Phase III, we will operate as conveners, bringing our expertise to the distribution of the results and bringing partners together to design strategies for application. We envision a series of convenings in which stakeholders analyze, design, and co-create solutions together based on the rich information generated from the research. As convener, we will provide the structure and format for a kind of think-tank lab, where new pathways, fresh takes, and innovative strategies are grounded in the quantitative information & qualitative wisdom of the research project.


A variety of work products can be produced from the research activities and can be tailored to the needs of an organization. Potential outputs include strategic communications products linking formative & summative research products to real-time events and emerging areas of interest with a close nexus to gender wealth drivers. These communication products include infographics, microsites, and social media content leveraging ongoing research in advancing policy solutions. Additional potential outputs could include policy briefs, reports, the creation of an online dashboard, presentations with actionable recommendations, best practice toolkits for providers & more.