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Racism is at the Root of Poor Wages for Childcare Workers

Black women childcare workers, who make up a significant portion of the childcare workforce, were more severely impacted by COVID-19 than their white counterparts. A 2022 Essence article, by Alycia Hardy, senior policy analyst at The Center for Law and Social Policy, discusses the importance of addressing our country’s historically-rooted racism in our efforts to solve the childcare crisis.

Take a look:

The Racist History Behind Why Black Childcare Workers Are Underpaid

There wasn’t much coverage of a report issued last month by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. But the information in it would have hit home for many Black women who work in the child care industry and are making the incredibly difficult decision to leave the profession they love.

The bank’s report used data to illustrate how COVID has disproportionately reduced retention and increased turnover for Black child care and early education professionals. These findings, as well as data published by other entities, have highlighted the harms of the broad approach our nation has typically taken to improve the child care system. For Black early care and education professionals and advocates like me, these findings offer a confirmation of what many of us have always known and what COVID worsened: we are experiencing vastly different systems, resource access, and outcomes.

My father, to this day, always says, “If you tell me the truth, I can help you out of any situation. But if you leave out the parts you don’t like, I can’t help you. If I don’t know everything, I can’t fix anything.”

Most people will acknowledge that child care work is extremely undervalued and shamefully underpaid. What’s often left out is the fact that this work is devalued because the history of the profession is rooted in enslaved Black women caring for white children.

Image via Essence


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