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Are Workplace Disparities Causing Economic Hardships For Black Women?

By Sabrina Lynch

  • 42% of Black women feel they lack opportunities for career advancement
  • Reducing earnings gap for Black women would generate 1.7 million U.S. jobs

Who runs the world? Girls! While this is not exactly a secret, what’s happening behind-the-scenes shows that not all the girls are having fun. Black women are still not receiving their fair dues in compensation for running the world or the economy. Unfortunately, 71% of Black women say they live paycheck to paycheck, compared to 63% of the U.S. population. They also disproportionately fewer have health insurance coverage through an employer, retirement savings plans and paid sick leave. This is not a sustainable way of life for Black women in the workforce, especially since capitalism appears to profit from their pain.

Why This Matters: Despite the progress being made in representation of People of Color in the workforce, employers are nowhere near setting up Black women for success. For African American women, 40% of them have annual household incomes under $50,000, compared to 24% of U.S. adults who earn the same figure. This income does not help their families cope with mounting debt such as medical bills or for childcare. 

Trying to leave a financial legacy is also not being supported by employers because only 49% of Black women have a 401(k) or other retirement savings, compared to 62% of the overall population. Even receiving paid sick leave has become a barrier for equality as just 50% of Black women receive leave from their employers compared to 56% of US adults who enjoy the benefit. Moreover, there is no incentive to take leave to recoup from an illness when only 43% of Black women receive health insurance through their employer, in contrast to 53% nationwide

What’s Next: Despite the economic challenges, Black women still have a positive outlook on what the future holds. Specifically, 63% of Black women report that they are optimistic about their futures and are determined to use their voice to shape the future,  with 86% of Black women stating they will vote in the 2024 Presidential election.

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