Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The State of Women of Color in the United States
Press Release

RELEASE: The State of Women of Color in the United States

Although They’ve Made Incredible Strides, Many Barriers Remain for This Growing Population

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, CAP’s Progress 2050 and FIRE Initiative released an issue brief on “The State of Women of Color in the United States” at 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. The issue brief and event examine how 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. 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 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.

"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 regards to 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."

To read the full issue brief, click here.

To watch the video for yesterday’s event, click here.

To speak to experts on this topic, please contact Laura Pereyra at [email protected] or 202.203.8689.

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