When girls do get out of school and into the workforce, they have to work more than 66 years to earn what a white man earns in 40, the American Civil Liberties Union found. And while Alicia Garza, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Opal Tometi and other black women literally made black lives matter, U.S. women’s maternal mortality rates are the highest in the industrialized world, largely because of violence inflicted upon black women.
According to data compiled in the 2017 report Status of Black Women(pdf) by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, more than half of Native American and multiracial women experience intimate-partner violence and more than 40 percent of black women are assaulted throughout their lifetimes, compared with 31 percent of white women, 30 percent of Hispanic women and 15 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander women. Verbal and physical abuse hold back black girls’ and women’s progress.
We know that Black Girls Rock and Black Girls Run, and yes, they do it with black girl magic. But let’s be real: The resurgence of arguably the greatest rapper in history was built on the strength of an apology to Beyoncé. The Women’s March may ensure that the first female president is black. For my own daughter’s matriculation in graduate school, I owe the zeitgeist of black women’s achievement as much as anything that I’ve done. She has so many role models to teach her how to navigate sexism.