With unprecedented influence over an election, black and Hispanic women say economic security on par with key race and gender issues
Washington, D.C. – In many key battleground states, black and Hispanic women will be the deciding factor in the November elections, making issues facing their families key focuses for all candidates. Latino Decisions interviewed 1,600 black and Hispanic women in four of these states—Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia—on behalf of the Center for American Progress and found that economic issues, often together with barriers related to race and ethnicity, are front and center as black and Hispanic women think about the coming elections. An overwhelming majority would like to see the next president focus on improving the nation's economic well-being, and view the well-being of working families as a top priority, underscoring that a range of issues will be important in engaging with these communities this year.
"Black and Hispanic women don't live in the issue silos they are often relegated to by pundits and political campaigns," said Angela Maria Kelley. "Not only are these women and their families looking for candidates to have concrete plans to address their economic challenges, but it is also their families that are disproportionately affected by the failure to act up to this point. That is why we are seeing such overwhelming support for issues such as equal pay and affordable child care: These communities see the impact these policies would have on their lives."
The survey also finds that working black and Hispanic women report facing significant amounts of work-related hardship, experiencing racism and sexism, and supporting policies that would address these and the economic challenges they face.
Key data points include the following:
- 87 percent of black women and 88 percent of Hispanic women see improving the economic well-being of working families as the "top most important priority" or "one of a few important priorities" for the new president.
- 42 percent of black women and 53 percent of Hispanic women are worried that they or someone in their household might lose their job in the next year.
- 36 percent of black women and 45 percent of Hispanic women report difficulty at work as a result of a lack of reliable child care. In fact, a majority of both black women and Hispanic women report that "reliable child care when you need it;" "high-quality, in-home child care;" "high-quality child care centers in your neighborhood or near work;" and "affordable child care" are "out of reach" for them.
- Low pay is an obstacle confronting a large majority of black women—63 percent—and Hispanic women—61 percent.
- More than 40 percent of both black and Hispanic women are unable to take time off if they or a family member gets sick and go unpaid if they decide to have a child or if their child gets sick.
While issues such as equal pay, paid sick leave, and affordable child care receive broad support among many groups, black and Hispanic women overwhelmingly see how these policies would help them and their families. These issues would be key in addressing many of the economic security challenges facing these women and their families, and include the following:
- An overwhelming majority favor up to seven paid sick days per year—77 percent of black women and 74 percent of Hispanic women.
- On paid family leave, 79 percent of black women and 75 percent of Hispanic women favored some amount, up to 12 weeks, for a new child, serious illness, or serious illness in the family.
- On pay equity, the support is also overwhelmingly strong for gender equity—83 percent of black women and 77 percent of Hispanic women—and for racial equity—82 percent and 74 percent respectively.
- Support is also very strong, if slightly lower, for the right to request a flexible, fair, and predictable work schedule—72 percent for black women and 65 percent for Hispanic women—for a universal public preschool program—73 percent for black women and 67 percent for Hispanic women—and for help to lower the costs of child care for lower- and middle-income families—75 percent for black women and 71 percent for Hispanic women.
"These audiences are the strongest supporters of family economic policies that help their own, and all working American families, thrive," said Sylvia Manzano. "In a more acute way, black and Hispanic women see how their families would benefit from policies that address economic challenges they face and are looking to candidates for solutions on a range of policies that will help close the opportunity gap, from immigration and civil rights to equal pay and affordable child care. These voters will decide this year's elections and many to come, and candidates should not treat them as one-issue voters."