Black Women Want More Than to Be Appreciated: They Want Political Power
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Photo: Reuters/PrtSc

Black Women Want More Than to Be Appreciated: They Want Political Power


WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 7, 2018

On April 10th, the United States marked Equal Pay Day to draw attention to the fact that women as a whole earn just eighty cents for every dollar that men earn. For black women and other women of color, the pay gap is far worse. And although this represents something deeply wrong in our society, too few people know about it.

Today, August 7th is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. This means that black women had to work all of 2017 and this far into 2018 to make as much as white men made in 2017 alone. Put another way, black women as a whole earn 38% less than white men and at least 21% less than white women.

So the black woman would have to work 19 months — or roughly January of one year until August of the next — to make what a white man made in one calendar year.

This study published by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

According to the National Women’s Law Center report, extended over a 40-year career, the wage gap has black women earning $850,000 less than men’s median annual earnings.

Studies show that the pay gap starts early. A data analysis of BusyKid’s app’s 10,000 users shows that parents pay boys a weekly allowance twice the size that they pay girls. By 16, black women are earning less than white men and the gap only widens as they age. As black women have families of their own, the gap means less money for their families, which is particularly harmful because more than 80% of black mothers are the main breadwinners for their households, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook and the founder of, called the pay gap facing black women an urgent problem.

“It has huge financial implications for millions of families, and it signals something deeply wrong in our economy,” Sandberg said. “We need to address the gender and racial inequalities that give rise to this imbalance—and create workplaces where everyone’s labor is valued, everyone is treated with respect and everyone has an equal shot at success.”

Despite the laundry list of factors stacked against black women, one-third of Americans are unaware of the pay gap between men and women. According to a survey by Survey Monkey, Lean In, and the National Urban League, half of all Americans do not know about the pay gap between black women and white women, either. That same survey shows that nearly half of white men think that obstacles hindering black women’s advancement are a thing of the past, while only 14% of black women agree. Almost two-thirds of non-black people surveyed said they think there is no pay gap in their companies.

Marc H. Morial, president, and CEO of the National Urban League says that companies creating programs and policies that measure perceptions about inclusion could have an impact beyond raising the income of black women.

“Not only would fair pay for black women drastically narrow the racial economic gap,” he said, “but it would go a long way toward stabilizing our national economy.”

"We all need to recognize that this is an urgent problem." the COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org. Sheryl Sandberg writes. "This is what happens when you live at the intersection of gender and racial inequality. It means having people doubt, dismiss, overlook, and undervalue you because you’re a woman and because you’re black. Not every black woman has that experience, but far too many do. It goes against everything we stand for as a country."

And that's not to mention the other activists supported black women, telling that they are currently three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications.

In the 2013-2014 school years, black girls were seven times more likely than white girls to be suspended from schools, and research has shown that by the age of 5 black girls are already viewed as less innocent than their peers.

According to the 2011-2012 Civil Rights Data Collection first reported this imbalance — finding that even though black children accounted for only 18 percent of preschool students, they represented 48 percent of children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions. Several years later, little has changed. In 2013-2014, black children accounted for 19 percent of preschool students, but 47 percent of students receiving one or more suspensions — making them 3.6 times more likely to receive a suspension than their white peers.

As for police violence, black women allegedly find themselves facing trauma from multiple angles. It is because the black women are often the ones left behind to deal with the death or injury of their loved ones, and also they stay alone without support at the hands of law enforcement.

There are also economic issues like the pay gap, which affects black and Hispanic women more than other groups, and the fact that in 2016, some 21.3 percent of black women lived in poverty, according to the National Women’s Law Center.


In 1776, Abigail Adams, who was a Founder of the United States, and is now designated as the first Second Lady and second First Lady of the United States, is said to have pleaded with her husband to “remember the ladies” while he was helping draft the Constitution, but John Adams was dismissive of his wife’s idea, saying men “know better than to repeal our masculine systems.”

Women have been fighting for the right to be treated as equals ever since, including the right to be paid the same as men for similar work.

It would be 187 years before any federal legislation was passed to address wage inequality.

In 1963, John F. Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act.

According to that law, it illegal to pay men and women who are working in different salaries for similar work.

“It is the first step,” Kennedy said during the signing. “It affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes.”

In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was adopted that guaranteed equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of sex and color. It was unanimously approved by the Senate and the House. But despite this, then as now, there was too much opposition on the state level for the amendment to be ratified.

In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law, but that too has failed to significantly close the wage gap for women. In fact, a recent study showed that absent any legislative action, women won’t achieve income parity with men until 2058. The picture is even bleaker for Hispanic women, who make only 54 cents for every dollar men make.


Now according to “The Status of Black Women in the United States,” Black women have been turning out for elections and 'voting at unprecedented rates'; they’ve also made significant strides in earning undergraduate and advanced degrees and have been succeeding brilliantly in opening their own businesses.

And despite for all the progress, there’s one area where black women have been unable to move the needle very much, and that’s in getting paid fairly for their work.

Speaking about the politics, a 2014 Center for American Progress report found that black women represented the largest portion of nonwhite female voters, at the time making up roughly 43 percent of women of color that were eligible to vote and 13.4 percent of all women eligible to vote.

For example, in Virginia’s Governor’s race, 91% of Black women cast their votes for Democrat Ralph Northam, propelling him to victory over Republican Ed Gillespie. In deep red Alabama, an astounding 98% of Black women voted for former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore, making him the first Democrat in 25 years to hold a U.S. Senate seat in the state. In recent months, Black women have been pivotal in the election of Senator Doug Jones in Alabama and elections in Virginia.

The report also noted that black women were also the key voting bloc when Barack Obama won the presidency and re-election in the 2008 and 2012.

Their strong voting behavior carried over into the 2016 presidential election, in which 94 percent of black women’s votes went to Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. Black women have also become key players in state politics in recent years, proving to be the most supportive voting bloc for the winning Democratic gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey.

As for black women’s elected, Trailblazer Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress 50 years ago, paved the way for today’s politicals like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who consistently advocate for LGBTQ people at the local and federal level. These incredible political leaders remind us that the fight is far from over.

In her speech at the 2017 HRC National Dinner, Sen. Harris reminded everyone of the urgency of the fight for equality.

“Fighting for everyone’s civil rights is in our common interest, and in our self-interest,” Harris said at the National Dinner. “No one should be left to fight alone. No one should have to hide — not in the closets, and not in the shadows.”

With her election to the Minneapolis City Council, Andrea Jenkins, became the first openly transgender Black woman to win public office in the U.S. in November last year.

“It’s more than just having a seat at the table. It’s having a seat at the table and being able to speak to power,” Jenkins told Twin Cities Daily Planet. “It’s about being present, and people knowing you will speak out against injustices. That alone will sometimes limit the number of injustices that happen.”

Nearly 100 percent of all Black women voters in the special U.S. Senate election cast their vote for civil rights prosecutor Doug Jones. They were a key component of his victory over Roy Moore, the bigoted anti-LGBTQ politician twice ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court for ethics violations and recently accused of serially preying on teen girls.

With groups including the NAACP of Alabama and Power of the Sister Vote, HRC helped mobilize equality voters to secure the election of Jones over Moore.

There are more than 500 Black women running for office this year, according to the online database “Black Women in Politics” that compiles information about races from the local to federal level.

Now it also comes a national campaign for the back women that are focused on harnessing their power and expanding its reach.

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and its offshoot — the Black Women’s Roundtable — launched the Unity ’18 Black Voting & Power Building “Time4APowerShift” campaign in Atlanta, Georgia. The goal is to leverage the impact of the Black vote and collective leadership, with a special emphasis on the South, Black women, and young voters.

There will be an emphasis on getting out the vote in places where the Black vote will be key to shifting political power, such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. 

“We are galvanizing Black women’s collective voices and leadership, and working to maximize the power and influence of Black women voters in the 2018 midterm elections,” Melanie Campbell, president of NCBCP and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable told ESSENCE. “We’ve shown in the past that our voting bloc can shift elections and our presence is often a definitive factor in turnout. We are seizing the moment to create change.”

They include Black Voters Matter, Southern Black Women’s Rural Initiative, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda/GA BWR, HBCU Green Fund Initiative/Clayton County GA BWR, Georgia StandUP and Black Youth Vote.

“We are in a defining moment in America’s political history that will determine whether we go backward or forward. I think this campaign is grounded in exactly the kind of work we need to move forward. We are centering the voices of Black women, supporting grassroots leadership and coordinating our efforts. When we work together, we win.”

“Black women lead with compassion and integrity,” adds Felicia Davis, convener of the Clayton County, Georgia Black Women’s Roundtable. We value healthy, productive families and we’re blazing a path forward in urban, rural and suburban communities especially in the South where our base is strong,” said Davis, who also serves as director of the Building Green Initiative/HBCU Green Fund.


This is where it all starts because it is the imposed rights of black women that are more likely to wither before reaching any new level. Otherwise, everything will go on the bad side, and then black women, like black men, will replace white people in their posts, in offices, as it is now, in politics, and in power and then in the world in General.

“It’s one thing to acknowledge the centrality of African-American women as the wheels of our political moment,” legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, who moderated the event, told the audience to approving nods. “It’s another to put them in the driver’s seat.”

Let's imagine a black woman at the helm, as it is now gradually happening. Now they have become a political force, and the creation of their internal closed community and their cohesion will lead to mass introduction into politics as a whole. It is not only about some small areas, it is about the governance of the country.

The using of racial groups is now only a political tool. Accordingly, this category will be used in every possible way by different political groups. To do this, the surveys and the so-called communities are created; for this, the election percent in results is drawn or the turnout is apparently overstated several times, which allegedly show an objective picture.

Of course, this does not cancel the greatness of Black Women's Equal Pay Day's holiday. But the methodology by which the polls are built is completely incomprehensible; the validity of the findings of these studies on which black women are gaining their votes and everywhere are the most oppressed mass of the population is also incomprehensible. And most importantly, it is unclear who benefits from creating such conditions, except for the black communities by themselves, which are moving slowly but with the right steps to the top.

Author: USA Really