Black Women’s Health Imperative creates workplace equity initiative

The BWHI says Black women are less likely to feel supported at work and more likely to face racism and gender bias.

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For 58 years, the Black Women’s Health Imperative has been a powerful force in a leading effort to address the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls. 

This week, the organization has announced a national initiative that will address workplace inequities with corporations dedicated to promoting an anti-racist culture in order to improve the health and wellness of Black women in this country. 

The Black Women’s Health Imperative has announced a national initiative that will address workplace inequities with corporations dedicated to promoting an anti-racist culture in order to improve the health and wellness of Black women. (Photo: AdobeStock)

“Through the development of this multi-year initiative, we will create national standards to transform the experiences of Black women in the workplace and allow them to thrive,” said Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, in a press release. “We know that each year, Black Americans have over 74,000 more deaths due to health inequities.”

“Chronic stress due to racism affects us on a cellular level,” Blount said. “We have to address this public health crisis with more than just conventional diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.”

For its campaign, the BWHI will give organizations the opportunity to show their commitment to a workplace promoting racial equality by having their policies evaluated for inclusion in a Corporate Fairness Index. The BWHI will also implement evidence-based fairness training for interested entities.

They have also created an Anti-Racism Toolkit for Wellness aimed at empowering Black women to stay healthy, even as they experience discrimination in the workplace. 

According to the BWHI, Black women are less likely to feel supported at work than other groups and more likely to face racism and gender discrimination. This lack of support contributes to chronic health issues they experience, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other illnesses.

The Gallup Center on Black Voices finds only 13% of Black women strongly agree that they have access to good jobs in their community, and merely one-third say they’re living comfortably on their present income. 

“The inequities endured by Black women in the workplace are the result of more than 400 years of racism and discrimination,” said Angelica Geter, chief strategy officer of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

“It will take a dedicated, collaborative and intersectional approach to dismantle systemic racism in the workplace,” she asserted, “one that doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk.”

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