New report details how to support Black women in their political, economic and social roles
Editor’s Note: April is Black Women’s History Month. Throughout this month, Black Youth Project is celebrating Black women. This month is also National Minority Health Month, Autism Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month. We are interested in publishing works that address these topics and the things surrounding them.
Collaborating with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has released a comprehensive study detailing the status of Black Women who are domestic workers in the United States. As part of its The Status of Women in the States series, this report describes the experiences of Black women across America and includes recommendations so that the potential opportunities for Black women can be reached.
Written by Asha DuMonthier, Chandra Childers and Jessica Milli, it includes a foreword from a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza, which outlines the history of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the particular way that Black women have been used and employed as domestic workers through American history.
As Garza describes: “Though slavery was legally abolished in 1865, the conditions that existed under slavery continue to persist today. Black women continue to be at a severe disadvantage in many aspects of our democracy and our economy. Whether one examines Black women’s access to health care, Black women’s earnings, or Black women’s access to much needed social supports like childcare and eldercare, Black women are getting the short end of the stick–despite having contributed so much to the building of this nation.”
The report examines several different aspects of the way Black women contribute to and work in American society, breaking the study up into subcategories, including Political Participation, which describes in detail Black women’s voting activity, the unique impact of voter identification laws on Black women, and Black women in elected offices. Employment and Earnings describes where Black women work and what they earn, the gender wage gap by ethnicity, advantages of joining a union, unemployment, and occupational segregation. Work and Family follows this up by making a case for caregiving as work, focusing on mothers as breadwinners, and describing key work-family supports.
Other sections are titled Poverty and Opportunity, Violence and Safety, and Health and Well-Being. The Poverty and Opportunity sections details access to health insurance for Black women, education, and the social safety net as it relates to immigrant Black women. Violence and Safety focuses on intimate partner violence, sexual violence and Black women and the Criminal Justice system, including police brutality in this section as well. The Health and Well-Being sections brings a focus to chronic disease, mental health, disabled Black women, and food insecurity.
Recommendations include strengthening Black women’s political participation, supporting employment and increasing earnings for Black women, creating policies that support a healthy work-life balance, expanding opportunities and reducing poverty among Black women, improving Black women’s health and access to care, and reducing violence against Black women and increasing safety.