By Claire Landsbaum
On Wednesday, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research released a report on the status of black women in the United States that’s, frankly, pretty depressing. It shows that black women face inequality almost everywhere: at work, in the U.S. criminal justice system, in healthcare, and when raising families. Funded by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the report analyzes data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia across six topical areas: political participation, employment and earnings, work and family, poverty and opportunity, health and well-being, and violence and safety. Here are four of its most important findings.
1. Black women vote at a comparatively high rate. According to the report, black women had a higher voting rate than all other groups of men and women during the last two presidential elections. In other words, as Alicia Garza – the NDWA special projects director – said in a statement, “we do our part to make this country better…it’s time for an agenda that puts black women at the center.” Indeed, the report also shows that black women are underrepresented at every level of state and federal office.
2. Black women work harder for less. More than 60 percent of black women are in the workforce, but in recent years their median annual earnings declined by about 5 percent. According to the report, “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).” What’s more, almost 30 percent of black women work in service jobs, which is the occupational group with a) the lowest wages, and b) the worst benefits.