EOI conducted listening sessions with African-American women. Many expressed apprehension about taking a full 12 or more weeks of leave because of workplace prejudice against Black workers.
PFML has the potential to boost health and economic security for all families and to greatly reduce health and other disparities by race, gender, and income. These positive impacts could be especially beneficial for African-American and other communities of color.
African-American and Native American women experience much higher rates of pregnancy-related health complications and maternal mortality than women of most other racial groups, and their children have higher rates of preterm birth and infant mortality. Black women and children also are more likely to live in or near poverty than their White counterparts.
However, PFML alone is unlikely to completely eliminate race-related differences in outcomes. Lower incomes and lack of assets among Black Americans compared to other racial groups are rooted in a long history of structural and institutional racism, including in access to employment and workplace opportunities.
Moreover, adverse health effects are not based solely on socioeconomic factors. The daily experience of discrimination and structural racism – including receiving poorer quality health care – and associated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, likely also contribute.