The White House Council on Women and Girls released a report this week entitled “Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity.”
This report highlights work the administration has done over the last six years to reduce barriers to success for everyone including women and girls of color. From continuing to fight to increase the minimum wage, encouraging women to enter STEM-related fields, providing increased access to health screenings and much more, this report re-emphasizes the Administration’s commitment to helping all women succeed in every area of their lives.
On Wednesday, the Council on Women and Girls hosted a meeting with stakeholders at the White House to discuss a range of issues that impact girls and women of color – including those topics featured within the report — and to hear from a number of stakeholders on the work they have done and are continuing to do on this critical issue.
In recent years, on indicators ranging from educational attainment to economic security to health and well-being, women and girls of color have made tremendous progress.
The number of businesses owned by women of color has skyrocketed, and women of color have ascended to the upper ranks of workplaces across industries. Teen pregnancy rates for girls of color have plummeted, and high school and college graduation rates have risen.
Yet, these achievements may obscure the very real challenges and disparities that persist for women and girls of color.
Girls of color still lag behind in their performance on standardized tests, and they are more likely to be suspended from school.
Women and girls of color still face higher rates of poverty and receive lower wages for their work than their white peers, and they are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system. Women of color still have some of the highest rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other serious conditions, and they experience high rates of domestic violence.
Andwhen women are the primary or sole breadwinners for nearly half of all households of color, these disparities do not just affect them, but their families and communities as well.
Further, as President Obama recently noted, women of color “struggle every day with biases that perpetuate oppressive standards for how they’re supposed to look and how they’re supposed to act. Too often, they’re either left under the hard light of scrutiny, or cloaked in a kind of invisibility.”
When addressing the challenges women and girls of color face – challenges that often lie at the intersection of race and gender – we often fail to fully acknowledge, and account for, this complexity.
For a copy of the new report, go to www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/cwg_women_and_girls_of_color_report_112014.pdf