Historically, black women have been leaders in organizing against social injustices and securing rights for their communities. Their efforts were essential to the women’s suffrage movement and the Voting Rights Act, and they are currently at work to change discriminatory laws that lessen their ability to participate in our nation’s political system. The status of black women is the focus of a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The report aims to develop new policies and legislation that contribute to the overall well-being of black women, and it gives solutions for amplifying their voices across the nation.
Compared to all other groups of women and men who voted in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, black women voted at a higher rate and were more likely to vote than their male counterparts and white women. Last year’s election saw a drop, however, though 94% of black women who voted chose Hillary Clinton.
Discriminatory legislation abounds — like the 2013 removal of Section 4 from the Voting Rights Act, a key provision that mandated sections of the country with a history of racial discrimination receive confirmation from the United States Court for the District of Columbia or the attorney general before making changes to voting laws. Voter identification laws have since passed in some states, and according to the Government Accountability Office, have reduced the turnout among African Americans and young voters, threatening their constitutional right to fully participate in the nation’s political process.