About WEP


Women carry the burden of unpaid household and care work. In the U.S., women spend 37% more time on unpaid household and care work than men on average.

In fact, if women in the United States earned minimum wage for their unpaid work, they would have made about $1.5 trillion collectively in 2019. The undervaluation of women’s contributions leads to insufficient government investment in affordable childcare, hindering their economic prospects and full participation in society. This absence of adequate childcare causes delays in women reentering the workforce, leading to productivity losses estimated at $122 billion annually in the U.S. alone.

At the same time, the expectation that women bear the childcare burden, even when alternatives exist, forces many to choose between work and staying home. This often results in significant career sacrifices. Improving access to affordable childcare isn’t about forcing work, but offering the choice to work if desired or necessary.

Our Impact

In 2023, Upwardly Global served 2,098 women.

We empowered women to confidently and successfully navigate their first professional job search in the U.S. and supported them in translating their international education and experience into promising career paths in their new home.

The top countries of origins included:

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The majority of job placements were in essential industries:

Job seekers listing technology
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Job seekers listing healthcare
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All women job seekers were refugees and asylees listing healthcare
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Completed our one-on-one coaching program
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Reskilled or upskilled, gaining industry-relevant skills, credentials, and certifications in technical fields that enhance their employability and workforce resiliency. Training areas include data science, project management, clinical research coordination, UX/UI design, cloud computing, IT support, and data analytics.

Average starting salary
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Average wage gain
~$ 0 K

Women who found employment through our program earn an average starting salary of $60,515, representing an average wage gain of $51,782 — a meaningful move towards financial self-sufficiency and economic independence.

A note from Upwardly Global’s President and CEO

With support from Pivotal Ventures, Upwardly Global launched the Women’s Economic Power (WEP) initiative, recognizing the urgent need to value immigrant women’s contributions and address the systemic lack of investment in the infrastructure necessary for women to enter the workforce. Through this initiative, we intend to advance federal policies to promote immigrant women’s access to pay equity, childcare services and programs, and employment opportunities. We also aim to shift the narrative surrounding their contributions, skills, and capabilities to be equal to men’s.

The Women’s Economic Power Initiative is more than just a program or a campaign — it’s a testament to our collective belief in the power of women to transform their lives and their communities. For two decades, Upwardly Global has been at the forefront of supporting immigrant professionals as they navigate the complexities of the American workforce. We’ve seen the impact of our work in the lives of thousands of individuals who have overcome barriers and achieved their dreams.

But we also recognize the challenges that lie ahead, particularly for immigrant women. In too many communities across the country, immigrant women are still facing barriers to economic opportunity, including limited access to affordable childcare, safe jobs, and equal pay. No woman should have to choose between providing for her family and pursuing her dreams.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the launch of the Women’s Economic Power Initiative — a bold and ambitious effort to address gender barriers that immigrant women confront and ensure that they have the resources they need to succeed. One of the key pillars of our initiative is expanding access to affordable childcare. We know that childcare expenses can be a major barrier for women seeking to enter or remain in the workforce. That’s why we’re advocating for policies and initiatives that prioritize access to high-quality, affordable childcare for immigrant families. We believe that by investing in childcare infrastructure, we can unlock the full potential of immigrant women.

But our work doesn’t stop there. We’re also focused on expanding access to credentials and addressing the social and occupational barriers that prevent immigrant women from reaching their full potential. Through our comprehensive approach, we aim to create a more equitable and inclusive society where every woman has the opportunity to thrive.

With gratitude,

Jina Krause-Vilmar

Upwardly Global’s community faces multiple identity-related barriers, including color, migration, gender, and social status, hindering socioeconomic equity. Immigrant women face systemic obstacles and societal norms that limit their ability to assume leadership roles, influence decision-making, and generate wealth.

Immigrant women encounter restricted access to affordable childcare, occupational segregation* *Occupational segregation is the uneven representation of workers across and within occupations based upon gender and other demographic characteristics.
, rigid gender roles, and limited career services.

Half of U.S. families report difficulty finding childcare. Mothers unable to find childcare programs are significantly less likely to be employed, while fathers’ employment is unaffected. Childcare is the primary barrier to career access for immigrant women, cited by 43.5% of women participants as the leading cause of dropout in Upwardly Global’s Career Coaching program.

Despite more than one in three immigrant women holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, they are disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs, less likely to occupy professional roles, and more prone to live in poverty compared to their U.S.-born counterparts.

The U.S. faces a $122 billion annual productivity loss due to infant-toddler childcare issues, with their impact on families, businesses, and taxpayers nearly doubling since 2018.

Without safe spaces and community resources, immigrant women encounter substantial hurdles, compounded by familial duties and time constraints, that hinder their professional advancement and perpetuate the cycle of economic disadvantage.

To foster a more inclusive workforce, we aim to create pathways to economic power by supporting immigrant women in accessing gender-sensitive online and self-paced training programs, scholarships, networking events, and peer-to-peer support platforms. These initiatives aim to guide immigrant women through a successful job search journey and support them in securing positions in thriving-wage jobs.

Women’s Economic Power

In 2022, with support from Pivotal Ventures, we launched the Women’s Economic Power (WEP) initiative, aiming to eliminate barriers to workforce services, revise policies to enable greater access to pay equity and employment, and shift the narrative around women’s contributions to advance gender equity through the three WEP pillars:


Workforce development


Policy change


Paradigm shift

As Upwardly Global continues to shape and transform the immigrant workforce sector, we seek to create a home for immigrant women of various socioeconomic backgrounds to connect them across industry and occupation, as gendered barriers impact all of them.

Learn more about our three-pronged approach toward our WEP objectives, as well as our 2022 impact data on women.

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