The State of Women of Color in the United States
Although They Have Made Incredible Strides, Many Barriers Remain for This Growing Population
The Center for American Progress recently released an issue brief on “The State of Women of Color in the United States.” The issue brief was discussed during an event with Tina Tchen, chief of staff to the first lady and executive director of the White House Council on Women and girls; The Root’s Jenée Desmond-Harris; Eesha Pandit from Men Stopping Violence; the Congressional Black Caucus’s Angela Rye; and the Dewey Square Group’s Maria Cardona.
Together, they examined how the role of women of color is shaping our country’s economic and political climate. Also, women of color are becoming increasingly significant as national demographic trends continue to shift toward women of color becoming the majority among all women.
Women of color today are largely underrepresented, however, in the national debate on key issues, including reproductive health care, women’s rights and the economy -- despite the direct impact these issues have on their families and communities.
“Women of color’s voices are missing ... [and] it’s a year in which the table is set in a way it has not been set before,” said Tchen. The issues confronting women of color have never been more clear.”
When asked what happens when women of color do not get to weigh in, Cardona said, “If society does not step up to the plate, let’s create platforms ourselves to have our voices heard. We have the numbers to back us up. It’s huge what’s lost because having a diverse point of view is important to keep our competitiveness at the national and global level.”
Today women of color comprise 36.3% of our nation’s female population and approximately 18% of the entire U.S. population. And by 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority among the general population of the United States.
“There is so much that is lost [without women of color’s voices] ... folks are afraid of change when they hear women’s voices that are not predictable,” warned Rye. As our country rapidly grows more diverse, women of color are consequently a growing demographic and must be part of the conversation. This issue brief examines the state of women of color in the United States at large in four key areas: the workplace wage gap, health, educational attainment and political leadership.
As Pandit said, “Our work is better and our policy is better when we have diverse voices. It means something when you say this diverse set of people can more accurately represent America.”
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. The Center believes that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and it aspires to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. The Center works to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems, and develops policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”