You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby? 50 Years After The March On Washington, Economic Progress Has Been Slow For Black Women
The recent anniversary of the March on Washington not only gave us a chance to reflect on the civil rights movement as a whole, but also on the economic progress of black women 50 years after the original event, which was actually called The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
So has the economic condition of black women in America improved?
The jury is still out. Economists can’t agree.
“It depends on the measure you use,” Dr. Margaret Simms, an economist at the Urban Institute, told Austin Weekly News.
Statistics show that employment for black women hasn’t improved greatly. Black women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey, were second only to black men in terms of rates of unemployment between 2007 and 2012, a period that coincides with the Great Recession, which disproportionately affected black homeowners.
“Unemployment rates are higher, and the gaps are larger, for black men than for black women,” Simms, wrote recently on her blog, MetroTrends.
When comparing employment between black and white women, the gap is unbelievable.
“As of August, 6.4 percent of black women with a bachelor’s degree or more were unemployed, compared with 3.9 percent of white women. For black women with less than a high school degree, 23.1 percent faced unemployment,” reports the newspaper. That’s almost double the number of white women (13.4) with the same academic credentials facing unemployment.
“If you compare white women and black women with a BA or higher, white women earn $100 more a week,” added Simms.
There has been some improvement for black women from the days where they had limited job opportunities. According to Simms, while corporate America is still overwhelmingly white and male, changes have slowly started.
“In the private sector, you see women moving up more,” she said, referring to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. “The act created an equal platform for those filing an equal-pay lawsuit, reducing the time for filing to 180 days after each paycheck,” reports the Austin Weekly News.
Jobs numbers will be out tomorrow, so we’ll have the most up-to-date information about the employment situation for the nation in less than 24 hours.