Sunday, May 13, 2012

Socioeconomic Disadvantages of Minority Women

It seems more often times than none that if you are born into the right socioeconomic strata that numerous opportunities are available to you and if you aren’t then you’re fighting to get to a place that others are born into. This is the place people tell you that you can get to with hard work. How hard was it for them to be born privileged?  

A socioeconomic disadvantage involves being disadvantaged on two levels. One level is a social level and the other economically. Thus socioeconomic status is measured as income, education, occupation, and where an individual or family stands as far as social classes. When gender is brought into the equation then there is an intersectionality (Feminist sociological theory, Kimberle Crenshaw) Research has shown that race and ethnicity in terms of stratification often determine a person’s socioeconomic status (House & Williams, 2000). Socioeconomic status can affect different of life as well; aspects of life such as education, health, the increase in chances of being raped and homicide.

On an international spectrum women who are at a socioeconomic disadvantage are more prone to be raped or to have less access or none to education, justice, or employment. (Whitman, 2012) However what people fail to realize is that while there is quite a bit of injustice on the international spectrum pertaining to minority women who are at a socioeconomic disadvantage, such is in our back yards too. To be born as a minority women in the United States for instance does not merit an easy life.

Working on a Native American Reservation in the middle of South Dakota kept my eyes quite open to the effects that one’s social status and economic status have on a woman’s ability to rise above the disadvantage. If an individual does not have the proper income, then certain aspects of education aren’t available to them. Furthermore if an individual does not have the proper education then at times (With the exception of very few who are usually white males) an adequate career choice becomes unattainable furthering the cycle of disadvantage. Because of this disadvantage intimate partner abuse is quite prevalent in the Native community. Socioeconomic stress is one of the leading causes of intimate partner violence. Working within the African American/Black population continues to keep my eyes open. As I am an African American woman this work began before it was even considered "work". In numerous meteroanalysis studies socioeconomic disparities bring about increases in cancer diagnosis, obesity, and overall health issues. Furthermore such is linked to a lack of opportunities for poor, African American/Black women all together.

At the end of the day these disadvantages are frequently identified but with no real call to action to eliminate them. Socioeconomic disadvantage is after all another word for class ism, and that I can write about all day.


House, J. S., & Williams, D. R. (2000). Understanding and reducing socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in health. In B. D. Smedley & S. L. Syme (Eds.), Promoting health: Intervention strategies from social and behavioral research (pp. 81-125). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Whitman, E. (n.d.). Minority women fight back against mistreatment . IPS Inter Press Service. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from


Post a Comment