The role of women of color in shaping our country’s economic and political climate is becoming increasingly significant as national demographic trends continue to shift toward women of color becoming the majority among all women. Today women of color comprise 36.3 percent of our nation’s female population and approximately 18 percent 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. As our country rapidly grows more diverse, women of color are consequently a growing demographic.
But women of color today are largely underrepresented 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. In fact, women of color have a lot at stake in the policy decisions being made, especially relating to jobs, the economy, and health care, because they are most likely to benefit from reforms intended to equalize opportunity for all Americans.
To be sure, women of color have made incredible strides in educational attainment and in the workplace—especially in entrepreneurship—yet their earnings and net wealth still pale in comparison to white women. They also lag behind in political leadership positions and still face unique health disparities. So their voices are critical to shaping the policies that affect their lives.
A new CAP issue brief examines the state of women of color in the United States at large in regards to four key areas: the workplace wage gap, health, educational attainment, and political leadership. While conversations in the mainstream media would suggest that women of color are a monolithic entity, it is important to note that women of color are a diverse group with a variety of experiences.
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