Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Black women in rural South: fewer opportunities, less philanthropic support than white ones

Rural African American women in the Black Belt and Mississippi Delta have higher rates of poverty than white women and lag behind their white counterparts when it comes to employment, health, education, transportation and access to quality grocery stores and restaurants, says “Unequal Lives: The State of Black Women and Families in the Rural South,” a report by the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative, which covers 77 of the nation's poorest rural counties in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. (Mississippi State Department of Health map: Mississippi Delta)

The report states: "For women and children living in the rural South, poverty is the result of unequal social, political and economic conditions— failing school systems, high levels of unemployment, poor public infrastructure and housing and the lack of access to quality healthcare—that have persisted over many decades." (USDA map: Poverty rates)
Researchers found that in the study area the poverty rate of single-mother-headed households was 61 percent, compared to 20.6 percent for white women, and "black women heads of households in rural counties are nearly twice as likely to be poor as their white counterparts." Also, the unemployment rate for African American women was 23.6 percent, compared to 5.9 percent for white women.

When it comes to philanthropy, only 5.4 percent of all funding in the South from 2012 went to programs focused on women and girls and less than 1 percent to programs that focused on African American women and girls. African American women are also three times as likely to drop out of high school and have rural African American women in the South have the highest rates of obesity.

The report, which has a wealth of information about the region, can be accessed by clicking here.

No comments: