A new report released last Thursday sheds some light on the state of Black women. Although Black women are becoming more involved politically and are more educated and financially stable, there are still areas of improvement.
The report, “Black Women in the United States, Progress and Challenges”, studied six decades of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The 76 page report highlighted the progress and challenges that Black women are still facing.
- As they have from the beginning of their experience in America, Black women lead all women in labor force participation rates. Even as mothers of small children, Black women are overwhelmingly likely to work.
- Black women are especially likely to be a victim of violence in America. In fact, no woman is more likely to be murdered in America today than a Black woman. No woman is more likely to be raped than a Black woman. And no woman is more likely to be beaten, either by a stranger or by someone she loves and trusts, than a Black woman.
- Largely due to years of pay disadvantages, decreased access to employer-sponsored pension plans, and a stunning lack of overall wealth accumulation,Black women over 65 have the lowest household income of any demographic group in America.
- Black women make up the most dynamic segment of the Rising American Electorate. In the past two Presidential elections, Black women led all demographic groups in voter turnout. And even without President Obama on the ballot, in the recent pivotal Virginia gubernatorial election, Black women once again exceeded all other groups in turning out on Election Day. As such, Black women were a key factor in turning Virginia Blue heading into the 2014 mid-term elections.
- Black women are woefully underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Black women comprise only 2% of the science and engineering workforce in the U.S. compared to 51% of White men and 18% of White women. In 2004, of the 7,488 science and 1,941 engineering doctoral degrees awarded to Americans, only 1.7% were awarded to Black women compare to 30% of science doctorates and 15% of engineering doctorates awarded to White women. By 2006, the number of Black women with doctoral degrees had declined to .34% in computer science and .58% in engineering.
- Black women college STEM students report being excluded from study groups with other students,27; experiencing difficulty finding students willing to be study partners; and being assigned fewer tasks than other members in group projects based on assumptions of incompetence.