New Study Seeks to ‘Unlock Opportunity for African-American Girls’

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A new report from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Women’s Law Center seeks to explain the reasons behind the often depressing statistics that black girls and women face. It’s a response to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the $200 million program for boys of color that received heavy criticism from those who felt that young women should be included.

The report, “Unlocking Opportunity for African-American Girls” (pdf), states that the underlying causes for these issues stem from historical and institutional barriers to educational and economic success that black girls and women face, according to Colorlines: “In 2013, 43 percent of black women without a high school degree were living in poverty, compared to 28 percent of white women with the same levels of educational attainment. Black women with full-time jobs working year-round still make just 64 cents on the dollar compared to white men, and 82 cents for every dollar that their white female counterparts make.”


Other statistics show that in 2010, 34 percent of African-American girls did not graduate on time from high school, compared with 22 percent of all female students. In addition, black girls are more likely to be suspended from school. In Wisconsin the numbers are staggering: More than 1 in 5 black girls received an out-of-school suspension during the 2011-2012 school year.

About the exclusion of girls of color from the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, UCLA law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, who co-hosted an August hearing that focused on girls of color and was sponsored by the African American Policy Forum and UCLA School of Law’s Critical Race Studies Program, remarked that girls “experience some of the same things boys experience and some things boys never dream of.”

Read more at Colorlines.

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