Black Girl Magic Abounds in Education!

Black Girl Magic Abounds in Education!

According to a recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics, within each racial/ethnic group within the U.S., women earned the majority of degrees at all levels in 2009–10. For example, among U.S. residents, Black women earned 68 percent of associate’s degrees, 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of master’s degrees, and 65 percent of all doctor’s degrees awarded to Black students. Hispanic women earned 62 percent of associate’s degrees, 61 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 64 percent of master’s degrees, and 55 percent of all doctor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students.

From 1999–2000 to 2009–10, the number of degrees earned among U.S. residents increased for students of all racial/ethnic groups for each level of degree, but at varying rates. For associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, the change in percentage distribution of degree recipients was characterized by an increase in the numbers of degrees conferred to Black and Hispanic students.

While Black women are increasing their educational pedigree, the question remains if such credentials are translating to higher salaries, higher management roles and visibility.  That remains to be seen.

However, with this new information, Black women should feel empowered to ask for more money during salary and contract negotiations.  Knowing your worth is half the battle.  Pay equity is still influenced by race and gender, with white women making just 77 cents for each dollar white men make, that gap is even wider for women of color. In an analysis of recent Census data, the National Women’s Law Center found that an African-American woman working full time, made just 64 cents for every dollar a white man made and Hispanic women made just 54 cents.

These discriminatory employment practices rob women of color from much overdue equal pay for the same exact work that men do.  It’s one of the most egregious and systemic ways that Black women are undervalued and undercompensated.

Why is this such a big deal?  Think about the trillions of lost wages that Black women do not receive that they can’t access to invest in retirement, in real estate and in building wealth for their families and future generations.  Racist pay structures are literally robbing our communities of wealth.

Ladies be sure to get what’s yours.  Knowing your self worth and knowing the range and salary bandwidths is critical.  Ask for more and be strategic in your negotiating.  As other colleagues about pay scales and be open.  Do not be afraid to ask what people make and do your research prior to going into conversations. Sometimes, we have not, because we ask not.

For more information on the pay wage gap:

Your Girl,


A. K. A. Rich Black Woman


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