Why Allyship is an Important Part of Improving Health Equity for Black Women
What is health equity?
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “health equity means increasing opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible, no matter who we are, where we live, or how much money we make.”
The topic doesn’t get discussed enough, but the obstacles to obtaining proper care have persisted for centuries for Black people due to the systemic racism ever so present.
Racism is uncomfortable to talk about but necessary to affect change. Unfortunately, some evade the conversation because it is overwhelming to think that non-whites face daily deliberate racism, and some even die due to racist ideologies.
How does this relate to Black women?
Black American women are two to three times more likely than other races to die during and after childbirth. Their babies suffer the highest rate of preterm births. It’s not a mere coincidence. Instead, studies show that the many societal barriers they face are responsible for—one of those hurdles being different treatment by those in the medical profession no matter the patient’s socio-economic status.
When concerns about women’s pain or postpartum depression go ignored, leading to a fatality, it’s unfathomable to think this is not something that all people should want to end.
In summation, obtaining health equity for Black women is an uphill battle because of racism.
What can you do to help?
- Become an ally. Ally is such a buzzword these days, but the meaning speaks for itself. The Black community doesn’t feel heard and is not asking for anyone to take on the adversities we face but simply asking for support.
There needs to be a reframing of perceptions around the Black pregnancy experience, which can only occur if people start talking, not just Black people, but people of all races. It needs to be engrained in the ignorant minds that this is reality and a terrifying one. Bring awareness to your communities.
- Partner with organizations like Her Health First whose mission is to improve health equity among Black women. With social media being so prevalent, share the information you have with women in need who can benefit from these services.
- Learn, learn, learn. Don’t depend on the Black community to fully educate you. Do your research. Talk to physicians, teachers, co-workers, family, friends. Together we have moved mountains, and it is pivotal that we combat this issue with unity.
There must be an equal level of care for everyone, or these problems will continue. Change only occurs when people step outside of their selfishness and consider those they don’t necessarily relate to.