Too Many Barriers Remain for Women of Color

A new CAP report examines the progress made and the unique challenges remaining for women of color in America.

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Throughout the 20th century, women fought for and achieved countless victories for women’s rights and became a political and economic force in our society after winning the right to vote, equal pay, and reproductive rights. While women have continued to organize for collective gains into the 21st century, the benefits of those achievements have not been equally shared. Over time, those gaps have expanded into wide and deep inequalities for some women—namely, women of color.

Despite making meaningful gains in education and entrepreneurship, women of color face unique challenges, especially in regards to their economic security. This is profoundly troubling given our nation’s changing demographics and the fact that women of color will make up 53 percent of the population by 2050. Hispanic women will lead this growth, increasing from a share of 16.7 percent of the female population in 2015 to 25.7 percent in 2050. Asian women’s share of the female population will similarly grow by 80 percent, from 5.3 percent in 2015 to 7.8 percent in 2050. African American women’s share of the female population will grow from 12.8 percent to 13.3 percent during the same time period. The share of women who identify with two or more races will also grow, increasing from 2.1 percent in 2015 to 4.1 percent in 2050. White women, however, will drop from 61.8 percent of the female population in 2015 to 47 percent in 2050.

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