Black Women Working in Record Numbers and Black Men Declining Death Rates

What I found on the Internet today may bolster the clarion call #BlackLivesMatter. It seems that some credit may actually go to past presidential administrations, including the current one, for helping to preserve black lives.

Let me backtrack; my research actually began in February of this year. It was then that I learned the suicide rate for black women was practically non-existent, and black men weren’t far behind. I posted my findings in the African-American Literature Book Club AALBC discussion forum.

Fast-forward to earlier this week, when I found The Atlantic’s The Mystery of Why Black Americans Are Living Longer (10 May 2016). The title is a bit misleading because African Americans aren’t living longer. Still, we are dying less frequently in comparison to our white counterparts.

The author of The Atlantic article cites many reasons for this phenomenon. It appears African-American death rates have been on the decline for the last 20 years due to economic and healthcare policies aimed at helping black communities.

Who knew?

While reading the article, a video caught my eye. In a little more than three-and-a-half minutes, “Will Single Women Transform America” highlighted what the author believes is the need for socioeconomic policy changes to accommodate single women.

Almost 140 years ago, feminist Susan B. Anthony predicted in her essay “In the Homes of Single Women” that there would be a change in the balance of power of the traditional heterosexual family.

Before that could happen, however, Anthony predicted there would be a period when women would have to go it alone. That period is upon us now. There are more singles than married couples. A record 46 percent of those under 34 have never been married.

Black Women Working
Black Women Working

While this change is the impetus for equal status in the home when men and women do marry, black women are the mule of this transition, bearing the brunt of the weight when going it alone.

According to the Women’s Bureau at The Department of Labor, single mothers with children under 18 head four out of 10 black families. 79.1 percent of those black working mothers have children between the ages of 6 and 17 years of age.   Further, black women have the highest labor force participation rate, with 6 out of 10 black women working or looking for work. Yet black women earn 20 percent less than white women and 40 percent less than white men.

While we’ve heard these numbers many times before, including during President Obama’s epic speech at the historically black university, Howard University’s commencement (7 May 2016), it’s not all bad news. The Department of Labor officials report they’ve been working on policies to mitigate black women’s hardships in the labor force. Those policies include paid family leave, a hike in the minimum wage, opportunities to close the wage gap so that single black women can earn more to contribute to their retirement fund, and subsidized child care for ALL working families, to name a few.

So, as Rebecca Traister, author of “All the Single Ladies,” ponders in her video presentation “Will Single Women Transform America? I say, “Yes, black single women are doing just that, just as we helped transform America during the Civil Rights movement of the 60s.

ICYMI, here are the links mentioned in the story.

More of What I Found on The Internet Today, next Thursday!