Friday, May 21, 2010

Discrimination Against Black, Female Caregivers

According to the EEOC, caregiving responsibilities disproportionately affect working women and their effects may be even more pronounced among some women of color, particularly African American women, who have a long history of working outside the home.

African American mothers with young children are more likely to be employed than other women raising young children, and both African American and Hispanic women are more likely to be raising children in a single-parent household than are White or Asian American women. Women of color also may devote more time to caring for extended family members, including both grandchildren and elderly relatives, than do their White counterparts.

Sure, discrimination against caregivers is a problem that can impact anyone in the workplace, male or female. But, it represents a particular issue for Black, female caregivers. In fact, caregiver discrimination against a Black worker (or Hispanic, etc.) might be compounded by other forms of discrimination such as race, color, gender, etc.

For instance, A Black, female worker, who is a single parent/caregiver may be discriminated against because of stereotypes about working mothers or single parents. AND, she may also be discriminated against because her supervisor has racist beliefs and/or stereotypes about Blacks and women.

Women of color also may be subjected to intersectional discrimination that is specifically directed toward women of a particular race or ethnicity, rather than toward all women, resulting, for example, in less favorable treatment of an African American working mother than her White counterpart.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination not just because of one protected trait (e.g., race), but also because of the intersection of two or more protected bases (e.g., race and sex). For example, Title VII prohibits discrimination against African American women even if the employer does not discriminate against White women or African American men. The law also prohibits individuals from being subjected to discrimination because of the intersection of their race and a trait covered by another EEO statute – e.g., race and disability, or race and age.

If you suspect that you are the victim of caregiver discrimination and/or intersectional discrimination (e.g., a Black, female caregiver), you should report your suspicions to someone in authority at your organization or to Human Resources. Or, you can file a complaint with an outside agency like EEOC or the Office of Human Rights or you can seek the counsel of an attorney.

Sources: and


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