By Anne Price and Andrea Flynn | Inkstick
In this current moment, in which we are looking to enact near-term and sustainable solutions to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can learn how to climb out of economic catastrophe by looking at the experiences of Black women in America.
Black women have always felt the brunt of the cruel, profit-centered, dehumanizing rules of our economy – rules that have stripped them of power, dignity, and choice. We don’t need to look much further than the data on wealth inequality to see this reality.
Wealth is always important, but it is particularly crucial in moments of crisis, and those who have the least will be hurt the most. As of 2013, Black and Latina women had a median net worth of $200 and $100 respectively, compared to the median net worth of $15,640 for White women and $28,900 for White men. Wealth allows people to continue to pay their mortgage or rent, to access health care when they are un- or under-insured, and to quit a dangerous job – like one that exposes them to sexual harassment, or assault, or to a global pandemic – it allows people to continue to care for their families.
The experiences of Black women provide us a birds-eye view, not only for how racial wealth inequality will widen post-pandemic, but also how difficult it will be for women and their families to recover in the months and years ahead. Even before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the US economy, Black women had still yet to fully rebound from the 2008 Great Recession. As a result of the last recession, Black Americans saw half of their wealth vanish.
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