New Report Highlights Status of Black Women in the United States

This week The National Domestic Worker’s Alliance released “The Status of Black Women in the United States,” a report that reveals despite their efforts, Black women are still behind.

According to the report, which was mainly based on the U.S. Census, Black women are voting, earning college degrees and opening business. However, they still hold few elected offices, get paid less than their white counterparts (both male and female) and have higher incarceration rates.

“They have all the makings of what should be success, yet their contributions are undervalued and under-compensated,” states the report.

It also found that Black women are likely victims of major illnesses and violence. Though these findings seem odd, they align with previous studies on Black women. Statistics consistently tell us that Black women must work extra hard in order to succeed. Because of this, efforts toward a better quality of life may seem futile, but the numbers do also reveal that things are slowly improving.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

  • In 2012, Black women owned 15.4 percent of all women-owned businesses in the United States, a larger share than their share of the female population (12.7 percent). In the District of Columbia, Mississippi, and Georgia, Black women own more than 40 percent of all women-owned businesses. Yet, nationwide, businesses owned by Black women had the lowest average sales per firm among all racial and ethnic groups of women and men, at $27,753.
  • In 2014, Black women composed 6.4 percent of the United States population, but as of August 2016 held only 3.4 percent of seats in the United States Congress and no seats in the U.S. Senate. In state legislatures, Black women held just 3.5 percent of seats. Only two Black women in the country held a position in statewide executive elected office.
  • As of 2014, Black women who worked full-time, year-round had median annual earnings that were 64.6 percent of White men’s ($53,000). In Louisiana, the state with the largest gap in earnings between Black women and White men, Black women earned less than half of White men’s earnings (46.3 percent).
  • In all but two states in the country, the average costs of childcare exceed 20 percent of Black women’s median annual earnings.
  • Black women aged 18-19 are four times as likely to be imprisoned as White women of the same age (32 per 100,000 compared with 8 per 100,000).

You may read the entire report by the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance here.

Chantè Russell

Chanté Russell is a Howard University print journalism major from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her entire life has been shaped by her passion for writing, fashion and activism. Those passions have led her to create a blog entitled Be The Zeitgeist and serve as a staff writer for Howard’s student newspaper, The Hilltop. She has also written for Lady With Attitude and worked as a freelance journalist. Some of her biggest role models include Anna Wintour, Maya Angelou and her cousin, Dr. Jennifer Edwards, who inspired Chanté to attend Howard. After completing college, Chanté hopes to work as a fashion journalist and use her platform to combat cultural insensitivity within the fashion industry and improve the public perception of the industry.

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