Here’s to Her: Black Women Deserve Recognition and Support

A stamp, a coin, and a $20 bill are nice but still aren’t enough

Bemnet Meshesha, MSW
Published in
5 min readMay 24, 2021


Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images

Maya Angelou was recently recognized as the first Black woman to be honored in the American Women Quarters Program; her likeness will be stamped onto U.S. coins. Kim Godwin made history recently as the first Black woman president of ABC News. Denise Gardner is the first Black women chairperson of a major museum board in her new appointment at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Awards and accolades are well-deserved for these Black women, but all Black women need recognition, gratitude, and support.

In the midst of the chaos that is 2021, Black women in the U.S. have many considerations, but at top of that list remain a pandemic that has disproportionately claimed the lives of their loved ones, the relentless police violence against the children they birthed, and a workforce that is rebuilding itself without them.

All Black working women need celebration, acknowledgment and support.

The economy is beginning to bounce back, purchasing power has gone up for the first quarter of 2021, and President Joe Biden is touting the American Jobs Plan. But it is alarming to see the significant number of Black women not regaining their jobs.

In 2020, the first and most significant women’s recession in recent history took place where women lost a collective 5.4 million jobs and almost 3 million women left the workforce altogether.

Katica Roy, CEO and founder of Pipeline, wrote recently, that in 2021, “32 years of progress toward gender equity in labor markets were lost.”

The state of women in the workforce was already poor, and now decades of improvements have also vanished.

Occupations that posed great dangers during Covid-19 and were considered “essential,” like nursing home staff, meatpackers, and farmworkers, were disproportionately held by women. Yet the lack of women represented at the highest levels of organizations, businesses, and on boards was already abysmal. Only 37 of the Fortune 500 companies are led by women, and of all the board seats for the top 200 companies, only a combined…



Bemnet Meshesha, MSW
Writer for

Bemnet is a Senior Director of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, and a Researcher of Black experiences. She is a Public Voices Fellow through The OpEd Project.

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