Black Women and Navigating Through Underrepresentation

For centuries, Black women have been subjected to misogynoir: discrimination directed specifically at them due to their race and gender.



In 1862, Mary Jane Patterson made history as the first African American woman to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. She paved the path that so many Black women have dared to pursue: seeking out higher education in a world heavily laced with misogynoir. More recently , according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 66% of undergraduate degrees received by Black people in America in the 2007-2008 school year were received by Black women.


Despite this progress, the representation of Black women is not reflected in highly paid fields, such as science and medicine. According to the National Science Board, as of 2017, only 2.5% of women in STEM identified as Black. In spite of the increased representation of Black women in college, Black women still aren’t able to achieve a quality of life that commensurates with their education and experience.


After graduation, Black women still have to scale the hurdles of prejudice and occupational segregation, as well as the false stereotype that Black women are not worthy of the same financial elevation as their male counterparts.According to Pew Research Center, the average Black woman in STEM earns a median income of about $33,600 less than that of a white man, $12,000 less than that of a Black man, and $9,200 less than that of a white woman. Furthermore, Black women have to take on exponentially more student loan debt than their white and male counterparts. This means that, in addition to being underpaid, they still bear the highest debts, leaving them in a constant state of financial instability.


To bridge this gap, a number of organizations have been created to help guide Black women toward maximizing their quality of life after college. These platforms encourage Black women to rise to the peak of their careers while building financial stability.




5 Platforms Dedicated to Career Advancement of Black Women

1. She Leads Africa (SLA)

Reaching more than 800,000 women in over 100 countries, SLA provides a digital lifestyle platform which imparts millennial multicultural women with the community, knowledge and motivation they need to live their best lives. Founded by Harvard Law School graduate Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Allegheny College graduate Afua Osei, SLA utilizes articles, newsletters, podcasts and videos as well as digital and real-life events throughout the year customized to help Black women start, expand and flourish their businesses and reach their financial goals.

2. Black Career Women Network (BCWN)

Established in 2012, BCWN is a career advancement organization dedicated to reconciling the gap created by the lack of support Black women receive in career development and mentorship access. BCWN aspires to change the narrative and stereotypes around the way Black women are perceived in and out of the workplace.

3. The Memo

The Memo encourages women of color to assume responsibility for their professional development. The Memo provides access to fundamental resources and real-world advice and experiences aimed at motivating women of color to attain their personal and professional goals with doggedness, stability, and sincerity.

4. #HIREBLACK

Partnering with top companies including Spotify, Udemy, and SkillShare, this agency offers exclusive events, resources and an invite-only member portal designed for the career advancement of Black women and their supporters. #HIREBLACK provides a safe and brave space that cuts across social justice & professional development.


5. The Prosp(a)rity Project

With tools for financial literacy dedicated to empower and deconstruct the systemic barrier of student loan debt, The Prosp(a)rity Project™ grants Black women the ability to make outstanding progress in their lives and revolutionary impact on their communities. By providing a platform that catalyzes the launching of Black women to greater heights in their profession and comprehensive welfare, The Prosp(a)rity Project™ gives rise to Black women empowered with generational wealth.



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