Sexism Isn’t A Dish Served Equally: African American Women Face Major Health Discrimination

by Kaitlin Cole

We know that discrimination against women still exists, but sometimes we forget the fact that discrimination is not distributed equally to each woman. A recent Forbes article by political strategist Atima Omara-Alwala revealed some horrifying facts about health care discrimination among black women. 

African American women, as just one example of many, are three times more likely to experience unwanted pregnancy and four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. Arguably, women of color are more affected by what Omara-Alwala calls the “‘war on women’ year” than their white counterparts.

So why isn’t this terrible fact a source of widespread outrage? Sadly, racially-based inequality is a problem in the feminist community. American women of every color are (rightfully) upset about a group of dudes trying to make decisions about our bodies, but white women are often the only representatives of this anger in the media. There are many women’s rights advocates of color, but they are often asked to speak or write only on issues specifically related to their race.

With conservatives wanting to get rid of affordable healthcare resources like Planned Parenthood (ahem, Mitt Romney), even fewer women will have access to important services and this problem will no doubt worsen.  As census reports predict that minority women will be the majority of United States women by 2041, it’s definitely an issue that needs to be brought to the forefront.

Omara-Alwala stresses the importance of more women of color being “regular major contributors in the nation’s health and rights discussion and policymaking.  And in turn our gender policy debates and discussions will be more effective and encompassing of all women.”  It seems like an um, duh concept: in order to raise awareness on something that affects so many women, we need a more diverse group of women speaking on everyone’s behalf, especially when something as important as our health is involved.

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