Issues Affecting Black Women

Written by althea thompson
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Issues Affecting Black Women
Black women face health, education and relationship issues. (Beautiful black woman image by MAXFX from

Alarming, controversial and encouraging describe the issues facing black women in 2010. Black women are succeeding in education and the marketplace, yet losing the battle on their health. Government agencies and television programs frequently delve into the life of America's black women to expose the overlooked challenges and triumphs she faces in the areas of health, education and relationships.

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In 2007, The Daily Nightly program on MSNBC ran a five night series on issues affecting black women. One of the top subjects discussed was the health of black women. Experts like Dr. Nancy Snyderman stated that black women have an increased risk of mortality than any other ethnic group for almost every major cause of death. African American women are 85 per cent more likely to develop diabetes. Another health issue of major concern is breast cancer. Snyderman stated that black women with breast cancer are 30 per cent more likely to die from the disease than white women. She blames the statistic on lack of health care and life-saving treatments available to African American women. Common health issues like breast cancer, cervical cancer and diabetes are not treated early enough to be of benefit to black women, according to This federal government source for women's health information blames the lack of health care for black women on generations of racism and poverty, lack of trust in the medical system, and women's lack of knowledge. Many of the chronic illnesses and diseases black women face do not have to be life threatening. They are treatable and preventable with proper knowledge and care.


MSNBC's expose on black women called, "African-American Women and Where They Stand," addressed education and career issues. Contributor Rehema Ellis discussed the disparity in numbers between black women and black men in college. African American women have surpassed black men in college enrolment, and resulting business ownership. Ellis reported that nearly two-thirds of black undergraduate students are women. She also stated that at historically black colleges, the ratio of women to men is 7 to 1. Dr. Haywood Strickland, president of Wiley College in Texas, contributed to the documentary as well, stating that black women are leading the way in education, taking it more seriously than black men do. Several organisations target and motivate black women to succeed academically. The Association of Black Women in Higher Education has been an advocate for black women for two decades. This organisation provides resources, networks, and motivation for black young women to pursue their educational goals.


Rehema Ellis also addressed the impact on relationships of black women who pursue higher education. MSNBC's documentary stated, "The percentage of African-American women between 25-54-years-old who have never been married has doubled from 20 per cent to 40 per cent." Only 16 per cent of white women have never been married. Ellis looked at the implications of these statistics and how they are redefining America's family and social structure. In April 2010, ABC Nightline featured a face-off debate called, "Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?" The series featured opinions from black female and male celebrities on why black women lead the numbers in education but not in marriage. Co-host on ABC's The View, Sherri Shepherd, and Jacque Reid, star of VH1's "Let's Talk About Prep," agreed that unfaithful partners, intimidation and stereotypes are to blame for the increasing number of black single women.

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