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 Black Women Have A Lot Of Issues, So Lets Talks About Them

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Damn right they do.

In fact, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help thinking about how the women I love and respect are walking around every single day with real issues on their minds and impacting their lives. From education to healthcare to everything in between, these issues are like a weight around their necks and a target on their backs and it’s time we talked about them.

Now, a few months ago, I wrote an article about Black men having issues warning any politician who wants our support to reach deeper than a few token talking points about justice reform and legalizing marijuana. Now I want to take this opportunity to point out that Black men aren’t the only ones who get pigeonholed in the political discussion.

On the one hand, I am a Black man, so I don’t pretend to know the backbreaking struggles women face in this country every single day, particularly Black women. On the other, I come to you as the youngest son and youngest brother of two remarkable strong Black women. I am the grandson of two former sharecropping Black women who spent just as much time in the fields as their husbands with the same cuts and calluses on their hands and feet. The lessons I carry with me came from their mouths and were learned at their knees so when I see our political discussion about “women’s issues” limited to reproductive freedom and maternal health, I’m insulted too.

The simple truth is that, just like every other constituency, women have a duffle bag full of issues they care about, not a clutch, and it’s time we talked about them. The good news is that President Biden is doing just that.

 

Education

Now, let’s be clear, there’s a lot of good news for women when it comes to education. In 2022, women outnumbered men in the college classroom with roughly 8.3 million women enrolled in undergraduate study compared to 6.1 million men. The same was true with graduate programs as a whole with women outnumbering men 1.8 million to 1.1 million.

Women are less likely to drop out of college, more likely to graduate in four years. But they paid more for that degree. 52% of men had to take out federal loans to pay for their Bachelor’s degree while more than 61% of women had to do the same. In fact, women are burdened with 66% of all student debt in America and Black women have the highest level of student debt following graduation.

Here’s a statistic for you. The average white man will have paid off up to 44% of their student loan debt 12 years after graduation. Black women, on the other hand, will actually see their student loan debt increase.

Add to that the fact that women continue to be steered away from profitable fields of study and careers like medicine or engineering in K-12 classrooms and it’s easy to see why education remains a top issue for women and an issue that anyone hoping to earn their votes needs to address.

 

Jobs

While we’re talking about student debt, why do you think it is that women in general (and Black women specifically) are carrying so much more student debt for longer than men? Simple. Women get paid less than men…a lot less.

In 2022, women earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. It’s even worse when you look at Black women, who only got 70 cents for every dollar, and Latina women who were paid as little as 65 cents. In fact, data tells us that the gender pay gap has only closed two cents in 20 years. That’s despite the fact that, as of 2023, women with college degrees make up more than half of the college educated workforce.

Now, part of that is due to the bias that pushes women into lower-paying occupations. For instance, the vast majority of K-12 teachers are women while there are more than twice as many male college professors as female. The average K-13 teacher makes under $39,000 per year while a college professor makes well into six figures. But the truth is that, no matter the job, women are paid less than women.

Likewise the astronomical cost of childcare is a major barrier to a woman’s economic well-being. In fact, the most recent data says childcare for one child can easily cost as much as $17,171 per year. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly half the annual salary for the average teacher in this country and well over the annual income for someone making minimum wage. In other words, thanks to the cost of childcare, getting a job would actually cost them money.

Of course, this issue isn’t falling on deaf ears. In fact, President Biden announced a series of new initiatives in March that would help from making childcare more accessible by growing our capacity to making it more affordable by supporting small businesses that offer childcare to their employees.

On top of that, you can look at the President’s proposed budget which, among other things, invests new funding to lower the cost of childcare dramatically with most families paying no more than $10 a day and the lowest income families paying nothing at all.

Ask a single mother, or any mother for that matter, if you want to know what a big deal that is.

Now it’s time to take the next step and make equal pay a matter of law and a matter of fact. For too long, women have been telling us they want their whole damn dollar. It’s time to deliver.

 

Healthcare 

Last year, a right-wing MAGA judge in Texas, Judge Reed O’Connor, struck down a key provision in Obamacare that requires insurance companies to cover critical preventative care at no cost to consumers and, in doing so, he put millions of American lives at risk…most of them women.

Judge O’Connor, along with Donald Trump and the other MAGA Republicans who want to do away with Obamacare completely, want to deny free screenings for preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, breast cancer, cervical cancer and more to more than 3.6 million American women every year.

They’d gut counseling for perinatal and postpartum depression. They’d eliminate programs to prevent domestic violence and support victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Now add the fact that President Biden has worked to cap the cost of prescription drugs and dramatically cut the cost of insulin and it’s easy to see not only that women voters care about healthcare, but that it’s on the ballot in a big way.

 

And, of course Reproductive Freedom

To say the MAGA Supreme Court kicked a hornet’s nest when they overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022 is an understatement.

That being said, the activist Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, driven by Clarence Thomas and right-wing Trump appointees like Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, followed by GOP’s neverending attacks on reproductive freedom means women are squarely in the cross hairs and they’re fighting back in a big way.

Just look at the more than 2.1 million voters in Ohio who came out to push back on the MAGA anti-women message and voted to protect a woman’s right to choose and say no politician gets to stand between a woman and her doctor. Look at the women in Kentucky who stood up against the Pro-Trump/Anti-Choice candidate for Governor and reelected Democrat Andy Beshear in the land of Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. Look at women driving progressive wins in Pennsylvania, Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas and Virginia where Glenn Youngkin’s so-called “moderate” abortion ban wasn’t fooling anyone.

Now take that and add President Biden’s leadership strong support of reproductive freedom, improving maternal health, putting more women on the federal bench than any other president in history, and the narrative is clear.

The GOP drive to end reproductive freedom in America may have helped solidify their right-wing base. But, in doing that, they bit off more than they could chew picking a fight with women across the nation and women are winning.

Still, Democrats can’t afford to take these votes for granted nor can they expect to earn women’s votes with this issue alone. Housing is a women’s issue so we have to talk about how HUD has stepped up not only by issuing a record number of housing vouchers, but also by implementing new rules to protect families from sudden and surprise evictions, developing the first-of-its-kind Eviction Protection Grant program and then doubling its funding, investing more than $1 billion for housing in tribal communities and creating the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights.

The Environment is a women’s issue so let’s talk about supporting major environmental justice programs like Dream Corps’ Green For All, investing $369 billion to fight the climate crisis, creating groundbreaking new programs and incentives that not only helps us cut pollution in half and building an exciting new climate economy that will create new jobs and careers for generations to come.

Public safety is a women’s issue, voting rights is a women’s issue and President Biden’s absolute support of federal DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) programs is definitely a women’s issue particularly when Trump and his braintrust at Project2025 deride them as “woke” and  vow to dismantle them if Republicans take the White House.

The truth is that, while these issues are always dealt with at the ballot box making them inherently political, they shouldn’t be partisan. They should just be American. That’s why earning the women’s vote is so critical, not just to win an election, but to win the future once and for all.

Women have a lot of issues. Damn right they do…and we’re right there with them.

Antjuan Seawright (@antjuansea) is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way.

SEE ALSO:

New Study To Evaluate Why Black Women Face Higher Mortality Rates From Cancer

Seven Ways Racism Harms Pregnant Black Women

The post Op-Ed: From Jobs To Healthcare, Black Women Have A Lot Of Issues Leading Up To The 2024 Election appeared first on NewsOne.

Op-Ed: From Jobs To Healthcare, Black Women Have A Lot Of Issues Leading Up To The 2024 Election  was originally published on newsone.com