Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics and Higher Heights for America, a national nonprofit that seeks to elevate the voice of Black women in politics, conducted the study. The group argues Black women face distinct challenges when running for political office and are more likely to be discouraged from running than their white counterparts or Black men.
While Black women make up 7.4 percent of the U.S. population, the study found they lack representation. In statewide elected offices, Black women account for less than one percent.
The study found this absence of Black women in statewide offices can severely limit their chances for gubernatorial, or even presidential, bids.
Nationwide, only 13 states have ever sent a Black woman to Congress, Florida is one of them.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was born in Miami’s Overtown community. She currently represents a large swath of South Florida from Miami to Miramar.
The Southern region of the United States is considered potent political ground for Black women, after 12 majority-Black districts were created.
And even while Black women are primary breadwinners in their communities who show up in significant numbers at the ballot box, the study found there are still gains to be made for this group to be better represented in politics.