OPINION (CBM) – Throughout history, Black women have played a pivotal role in the success of our community while addressing systemic barriers for all marginalized communities. We have been at the forefront of change while standing on sinking foundation but never wavering our commitment to the fight.
Overall data confirms that we are at the bottom in the areas of health, finances, family stability, career advancement, political leadership and more.
The Black female population in California is the third largest in the country with 1.1 million residents. Although we only represent approximately six percent of women in the state, our impact on social and political issues have lead the way to remove barriers that have helped our counterparts thrive. Unfortunately, those strides have left us behind on many quality of life indexes. When Black women fall under the umbrella of women as a whole or women of color, our voice and our issues get marginalized.
Our families depend on Black women’s earnings. Over 80 percent of Black mothers are breadwinners, yet many have responsibilities to care for an elderly parent, a person with a disability, or a young child.
In California, Black women spend 50 percent of their earnings on housing and an additional 25 percent on childcare. This only leaves us with 25 percent to provide basic necessities including food and health care. We make $.63 to white males, which is $.12 to our white female counterparts. In addition, approximately a quarter of us live below the federal poverty rate and a quarter of Black women work in the service industry, which limits our pathway to success. When you add the intersection of health and education, we are even further behind.
It is more evident today than ever before for us to be more strategic and collaborative in order improve the lives of Black women and girls in California. With the larger population of Black females being under the age of 35, it’s necessary for us to engage in a multi-generational approach along with ensuring information sharing that will provide us the opportunity to learn from each other.
For centuries, we have invested time and energy (blood, sweat and tears) to uplifting everyone else while neglecting ourselves, our condition and our future.
The State of Black Women in California (SOBWCA) provides us the opportunity to develop a foundation to build a movement that will be transformational and sustainable.
We will create strong strategy based solutions that will culminate in a tangible report to be released publically that can and will drive policy and create an action plan. This will serve as our road map as we link our work together throughout the state.
We need this. The time is now. The game changing blueprint is the State of Black Women in California.
By Kellie Todd Griffin
A special to California Black Media.