Am I Not My Sister’s Keeper As Well?
“The need to acknowledge the crisis facing boys should not come at the expense of addressing the stunted opportunities for girls who live in the same households, suffer in the same schools, and struggle to overcome a common history of limited opportunities caused by various forms of discrimination.” – Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum
In the past few years much needed attention and investment has been paid to initiatives that raise concerns and solutions concerning the stark reality facing many boys and men of color. Perhaps most notably has been the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative that was launched last February and most recently, Boston City Council’s approval to form a Commission on Black and Latino Males.
Notably absent from the national dialogues, however, has been a focus on the challenges and disparities that exist for girls and women of color. As the opening quote from Crenshaw illuminates, racial and gender inequities have produced both similar and peculiar outcomes for female youth of color that also demand our immediate attention and call to action.
In response to the concerns and criticism over the exclusion of women and girls of color, the White House released a report this week. The report highlights a few of the challenges faced by women and girls of color. Concerning wage equity, “Asian-American women make 79 cents, Black women make 64 cents and Hispanic women make 56 cents to every dollar paid to white non-Hispanic men.”
Concerning education among girls and young women of color, “Black girls are 14.6% less likely, Hispanic girls are 12.8% less likely and American Indian/Alaska native girls are 16% less likely to graduate from high school than white girls.”
While it is without a doubt that tremendous progress has been made, these and other statistics are too startling to ignore.
YW Boston’s mission and work speaks to our belief that we need to be our sister’s keeper as much as our brother’s.