Black women are the backbone of this country, carrying the nation’s burden on our backs. We are the leaders for anti-police brutality for our black men, and create hashtags for slain black women just so people can at the very least #SayHerName.
We are the majority who votes in an attempt to save the country from an extreme oppressive candidate. We are even the warning via letter against an unfair justice system.
Well, per the Washington Post, it looks like science is confirming what we already knew with a new report concluding that while black women are working toward the “American Dream” in mass numbers, this very country isn’t meeting our efforts.
The report entitled “The Status of Black Women in the United States” comes from the National Domestic Workers Alliance and was prepared by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a George Washington University-affiliated nonprofit. From voting at high rates, to earning college degrees in high numbers, to making a mark in the business owner sector, the study shows that black women are here to work hard and make a mark on our communities.
“They have all the makings of what should be success, yet their contributions are undervalued and under compensated,” via a statement from the report.
So, let’s crack some numbers! Using data largely drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau, the report found:
Black women in the workforce had their median annual earnings decline by 5 percent between 2004 and 2014.
By 2014, black women's median annual wages were a minuscule 64.6 percent of what white men were taking home.
And what about about black women business owners?
Well, despite having the number of black women owned businesses rising by unprecedented levels — increasing a whopping 178 percent between 2002 and 2012 — and despite 15.4 percent of all women owned businesses in the U.S. being black women owned businesses, black women business owners saw the lowest average sales of any group, taking in $27,753 per year.
Not only are black women business owners hurting financially, but black women in general are. The report notes that poverty rates for black women stand at 24.6 percent, compared to 10.8 percent for white women.
And of, course, the prison industrial complex affects black women at unfairly alarming rates. In 2014, 109 out of every 100,000 women in state and federal prisons were black, while 53 out of every 100,000 were white.
So, again, while black women are essentially doing all they can do be upstanding citizens of this country, the very country they fight for or fight within is not showing us the same love.
Based on this tragic data, the report is calling on the government and other institutions to develop policies that better wage and paid leave laws, improve upon healthcare services, help to fight against racism and sexism and that move towards true criminal justice reform.
Black women deserve better. Much, much better.