The Intersectionality of Race and Gender: Impact on Women's Empowerment in Atlanta, Georgia

This article examines how race & gender intersect to shape opportunities for economic & political empowerment among women living in Atlanta.

The Intersectionality of Race and Gender: Impact on Women's Empowerment in Atlanta, Georgia

As a city renowned for its rich history and vibrant culture, Atlanta, Georgia has become a hub for women's empowerment. From grassroots organizations to corporate initiatives, there is a strong focus on uplifting and empowering women in this southern city. However, when examining the intersectionality of race and gender, it becomes clear that not all women in Atlanta have the same opportunities for empowerment. Intersectionality is a term coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to describe the overlapping systems of oppression that individuals may face based on their race, gender, class, and other identities. In the context of women's empowerment in Atlanta, this means that a woman's experience is shaped not only by her gender but also by her race. According to the 2019 US Census Bureau, Atlanta has a population of over 498,715 women.

Of these women, 51.3% are Black or African American and 38.1% are White. This racial makeup highlights the importance of examining how race and gender intersect in the city's landscape of empowerment.

The Impact on Economic Empowerment

One of the key areas where intersectionality plays a significant role in women's empowerment is in economic opportunities. In Atlanta, there is a stark contrast between the economic opportunities available to White women versus Black women. According to a report by the National Women's Law Center, Black women in Atlanta earn just 63 cents for every dollar earned by White men. This wage gap is even wider than the national average of 82 cents for every dollar earned by White men.

This disparity not only affects Black women's ability to support themselves and their families but also limits their potential for economic empowerment. Furthermore, Black women in Atlanta are more likely to face barriers to employment, such as discrimination and lack of access to education and training. This makes it even more challenging for them to secure well-paying jobs and advance in their careers.

The Role of Intersectional Organizations

Despite these challenges, there are many organizations in Atlanta that are working towards empowering women, particularly those from marginalized communities. One such organization is the Atlanta Women's Foundation (AWF), which focuses on economic empowerment for women and girls. Through its Women's Pathway to Success program, AWF provides job training, financial education, and career development opportunities for low-income women. The program also offers a mentorship component, connecting participants with successful women in their desired fields.

By addressing the intersectionality of race and gender, AWF is helping to break down barriers and create more equitable economic opportunities for women in Atlanta.

The Impact on Political Empowerment

Another area where intersectionality has a significant impact on women's empowerment in Atlanta is in the political sphere. While the city has made strides in electing women to political office, there is still a lack of representation for women of color. In 2017, Keisha Lance Bottoms became the second Black woman to be elected as Mayor of Atlanta. However, this was only after a run-off election against another Black woman, Mary Norwood. This highlights the lack of diversity among candidates and the need for more support and resources for women of color who are interested in running for political office. Furthermore, according to a report by the Center for American Women and Politics, Georgia ranks 39th out of 50 states for women's representation in state legislatures.

This lack of representation not only affects the policies and decisions made but also limits the visibility and influence of women in politics.

The Importance of Intersectional Feminism

Intersectionality is not just a buzzword; it is a crucial concept that must be considered in all efforts towards women's empowerment. This is especially true in a city like Atlanta, where the intersection of race and gender has a significant impact on women's experiences. Intersectional feminism recognizes that women's experiences are not monolithic and that different identities intersect to shape their realities. It also acknowledges that some women face more barriers and challenges than others, and therefore, efforts towards empowerment must be inclusive and intersectional.

In Conclusion

Women's empowerment in Atlanta, Georgia is a complex issue that cannot be addressed without considering the intersectionality of race and gender.

While there are many organizations and initiatives working towards empowering women in the city, there is still much work to be done to ensure that all women have equal opportunities for economic and political empowerment. As we continue to strive towards a more equitable society, it is essential to recognize and address the unique challenges faced by women of color in Atlanta. By doing so, we can create a more inclusive and empowering environment for all women in this vibrant southern city.

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