My response: ORLY?
I’d like to quantify that for $500,000 Maria.
- Salary gap has NOT been closed.
- Race disparities.
- Education disparities
- Unknown intangibles (networking, associations, mentoring you know HELP)
- Nepotism – yeah I said it
My first thoughts are to immediately think any such report will need to be challenged. Although many women have progressed last time I checked men are still running the show. One white woman’s viewpoint – a woman who’s part of the Boomer generation, 1% wealthiest, politically connected, virtual royalty, top journalist and First Lady of CA may know some things about struggle (after all no one’s life is perfect) but she doesn’t know JACK about financial inequity and has never lacked for opportunities.
The report isn’t about Shriver though – but nice move to get your name on it, girl! That’s a power move we should be taking notes on, ladies. It’s in conjunction with the Center For American Progress as well. That’s all good because we all have our own unique gifts, talents and life paths. I wouldn’t exactly be jumping for joy at the prospect of being married to an infamous womanizer (alleged) and the guy who gets the gold star for derailing CA after staging what was tantamount to a coup when he was (s)elected for Governor. But I digress.
I had to actually read the report — which you can view HERE. My initial thoughts are that the rest of women in this country are catching up (or catching hell) to what African-American women as a collective have had to do historically to survive: work, work and more work. While carrying family and community. For crappy pay. Long hours. Unsafe conditions. Toiling under sexual exploitation (Exhibit A Strom Thurmond and Carrie Butler). That’s not an immigrant or undocumented worker issue only.
Fannie Lou Hamer’s famous quotation about being sick and tired no doubt was a reference to her years toiling in the cotton fields while struggling to take care of her family. Most American women no longer work under the conditions experienced by Hamer, but the workplace still leaves many women sick and tired.
The interaction of both physical and social hazards created by inequitable job conditions makes employment especially dangerous for women. Women’s vulnerability does not result from biological difference so much as from occupational discrimination, including sex and race segregation.
In addition, too many employers still treat matters of the home as private affairs with no bearing on the workplace. Ignoring the burdens of caregiving and the injury of domestic violence only serves to exacerbate threats to women’s health, safety, and well-being.
Despite the challenges other groups of women have and will continue to see their future offspring or peer status rise intergenerationally because their groups have a vested interest in elevating themselves. That has not been the case for AAs (as a collective) as we can see a sharp decline across the board post-Civil Rights. It’s been particularly harrowing (for the collective) since the Bush years and continues in this economic recession.
The Census reports from 1870-1940 show the majority of AA women either toiled the (tobacco) fields or worked as domestics (housekeepers, laundresses, baby nurses). I had the privilege of conducting a report for an AA women’s study class where we needed to get information from a woman more than 30 years our senior. I chose my maternal grandmother a few years before she passed away. It was quite fascinating discussing the opportunities available to women of her generation. She discussed her work week of 16 hour days with perhaps having Sundays off earning a few dollars per week. As a teen she needed to bring in an additional income to help her family.
She discussed how desperately she wanted to attend college but married at age 18 because that was what was available to her and she wanted to leave her parent’s home. A quick pregnancy followed. To hear her speak my grandmother would have been far more “progressive” had she not been so constrained by society. Her reputation was important and how she carried herself highly valued. She would have gone to school first and waited to marry and have children. It seems like a no-brainer today! Yet things have regressed for many young women today.
Today is a NEW day and since the “black community” no longer sustains LIFE it’s best for all those women who can get out to do so pronto. Aligning themselves with like-minded individuals who are seeking elevation will make all the difference in the world. As many women from other groups have learned to do to ensure a better future for themselves – the proof can be seen in the economic and political standing of any group.
Maybe Maria was right after all.
Knowing the past is important when forging a future.
So does learning new ways to accomplish goals.