Center for American Progress: Women of Color Making Strides, But Still Have Far To Go

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July 18, 2012 ‐ By

Photo: Blazej Maksym

The Center for American Progress has released an exhaustive analysis of the state of women of color in the U.S. The picture it paints is a bright one, indicating the great leaps and bounds that women of color have made in this country. However, there is still much work to do across important areas of public life, and personal and professional accomplishment.

According to the report, women of color comprise 36.3 percent of the female population and 18 percent of the entire U.S. population. However, they are underrepresented in government and in the middle and upper economic classes. Moreover, they stand to gain the most from reforms that seek to create greater equality of opportunity.

Here are some of the stats included in the report:

  • Women overall make 77 cents for every dollar that a White man makes. However, Black women make only 70 cents for that dollar.
  • Women of color make up 33 percent of the female workforce but are more likely to occupy lower-paying jobs, leading to an average of $434,000 in lost wages over a lifetime.
  • The median weekly earnings for White women is $703. For Black women, it’s $595. Latinas fare even worse with $518.
  • The poverty rate of White women is 10.3 percent. For Black women, it’s 26.6 percent.
  • Unemployment among women of color is 13.3 percent versus 7.2 percent for White women.
  • Women of color make up 53.2 percent of the medically uninsured.
  • There are only 90 women serving in Congress, none of them in the Senate. Of that figure, 24 women of color are serving in the House of Representatives; 13 are African American. There are even fewer women of color at the state levels of government.
But here’s some of the good news. Entrepreneurship has surged among women of color; they have launched 1.9 million businesses. And, according to the Center for Women’s Business, Black women are starting businesses at three to five times the rate of all businesses. Entrepreneurship among Black women increased 67 percent between 2002 and 2007.

 

And
women of color are going to college to get more knowledge. They complete college at higher rates than men and White women, are getting graduate degrees in growing numbers, and, in 2010, 21.4 percent of Black women had a college degree.

 

Finally, on the health front, 5.5 million African Americans are already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

To read the report in its entirety, click here.

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