Despite being one of the most active political constituencies in the nation, black women are severely underrepresented in federal, state and local government.
That’s the conclusion of a study released by The Higher Heights Leadership Fund and the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics, in collaboration with the Center for American Progress.
The report, “Status of Black Women in American Politics,” highlights the extent to which the voices of black women are not be adequately heard, or their concerns addressed.
Through the examination of academic research and statistics on the black female electorate, the report makes it clear that this demographic is increasingly vital to the political process. Black women had a higher voter turnout rate than any other race or gender subgroup in the 2008 and 2012 general elections. Within the black community, women make up over 52% of the population, represent nearly 60% of the electorate, and turn out to vote at a rate nearly 10% higher than men.
There are tangible results of this influence: it is widely recognized that black women were pivotal in electing Terry McCauliffe as governor of Virginia and reelecting Senators Brown and Kaine in Ohio and Virginia, respectively.
Over the last few decades, the study found that black women have made significant strides in not just voting behavior, but income and education, showing their importance to the strength of the economy.
They outpace their male counterparts in earning high school and college degrees, and are the primary breadwinners in black American households, according to the report.
Black women constitute just 2.6 percent of Congress, 3.3 percent of state legislatures, and only two hold statewide executive offices.
Thoughts on the report?
Why are black women absent in politics?
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