There are several factors that contribute to the gross misrepresentation of black women in official positions. Historically, black women have had higher odds of winning elections in majority-black districts. However, in 2020, we are seeing a large number of black women running for office in districts that are predominantly mixed, white, and in some instances, districts that have previously voted republican.
“People are becoming more comfortable with seeing different kinds of people in Congress. You don’t know what it looks like to have powerful Black women in Congress until you see powerful Black women in Congress.” said Pam Keith, an attorney, and Navy Veteran.
Per a study conducted by the Center of Women and Politics and Higher Heights for America, black women make up about 8% of the entire U.S. population while they hold about 4.3% of all seats in the congress.
Everyone has their own idea of what it means to fight for equality and racial justice in the U.S. While some people prefer the front-lines approach by way of protests and so forth, others prefer more actionable steps to create the change they want to see. Black women are one sector of the African American population in the United States that is committed to taking a judicial approach to bring forth change across the entire country.
What it means going forward
Congress isn’t the only place where black women are being underrepresented in politics, they are disproportionately excluded from mayoral positions and executive jobs. While black women are underrepresented in many top positions and offices, they made up the highest percentage of voter participation throughout the 2008-2010 elections.
Joyce Elliot is black woman and Arkansas senator that is poising herself for a congressional seat the upcoming November. Joyce Elliot has a personal connection to racial inequality as she was only the 2nd black student to attend her local high school. If Joyce Elliot gets elected in November, she will make history as the first black lawmaker to win a Congressional seat from Arkansas ever.
Joyce Elliot isn’t the only black woman hoping to make history this upcoming congressional election as she will be joined by additional African American/multi-racial women who have filed to obtained a congressional seat in this upcoming election. As of right now, 60 black women are in the running to become a part of congress.