Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice
The Grand Challenge to Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice recognizes glaring inequities in access
to healthcare, affordable housing, quality education, and gainful employment. It sees a vital role for social
work in deconstructing the underlying prejudice, bias, and stigmatization that perpetuate and exacerbate
these inequities. And it sees social workers as agents of change in their communities and institutions.
Consistent with its vision of a society of equal opportunity and justice, Grand Challenge members have
published and presented widely on the subject during the past five years and advocated for state and
federal policies to accelerate integration and combat discrimination. For school districts, the network
has also launched the School Success Project to identify and reduce disproportionate suspension and
expulsion. Looking ahead, the network envisions teaming up with other Grand Challenges, such as
Eliminate Racism and Promote Smart Decarceration, to further their common goals.
Sources: 2016 GCSW Policy Brief, 2017 concept papers and the Center for American Progress website
A VISION OF AN EQUAL AND JUST SOCIETY
The wage gap in the United States persists. As recently as
2018, compared to every $1 that men of all races earn:
• White women working full time earn an average of $0.79
• Black women earn only $0.63
• Latina women earn as little as $0.54
In 2016, the uninsured rate among working-age members
of the Latino community in states that had expanded
Medicaid eligibility decreased from 36% to 23%. In states
that opted not to expand Medicaid eligibility, the rate
remained virtually unchanged.
Although African American children and youth account for
15% of the U.S. public-school population, they represent
48% of those suspended from school, outpacing all other
ethnic groups in school suspension rates, with no evidence
that they engage in misbehavior at higher rates.
Although the 1968 Fair Housing Act prohibits housing
discrimination, American metropolitan areas remain
highly segregated: the majority of White Americans live in
neighborhoods that are more than 80% White, and nearly
a third of White Americans - roughly 63 million people -
live in neighborhoods that are more than 90% White.
34 | Progress and Plans for the Grand Challenges