The American business profession has begun to grapple with the diversity problems in its field. In June, as protests against Black Lives Matter raged in the US and then around the world, the American Economic Association – the voice of the establishment for economists – admitted that “our professional climate is hostile to black economists.”
Since a 2019 survey by the association, more diversity and inclusion initiatives, research pathways, and high-profile promotions have emerged that found experiences of sexual harassment and assault were “not uncommon” for women, and Asian, Black, and Latin American economists reported of “significantly worse” experiences of discrimination than their white colleagues.
Dr. Bank’s career also bears these scars. Your studies with Dr. Alexander is the result of a career that has gone off course. Her original goal was to become a development economist, a field that studies the growth of low-income economies. In the 1990s, she was sexually molested by an economist while doing an internship with a US government agency that focused on development.
“Based on this experience, I decided not to do a development economy,” she said. Just over two years ago, Dr. Banks, encouraged by the #MeToo movement, at this workplace.
“When it came time to write a dissertation, I really wanted to focus on something that mattered to me,” she said. “Something that honors the long history of black women who work for the African American community.”
The legacy of this switch is evident in their latest article. Their goal is to develop a theory to elevate the community as a manufacturing facility that needs to be scrutinized as closely as any other work. And to highlight the long-lasting effects of these women.
It dates back to 1908 when the Atlanta Neighborhood Union was founded, which was run by black women to study the needs of their community and provide basic social and health services that the city did not provide. It inspired the Women’s Political Council in Montgomery, Ala., Which worked to increase voter registration and later participated in political protests, including the Montgomery bus boycott. It resembles some of the work that black women are doing today, as in Georgia, to register voters serving to improve their communities and reduce inequality, with notable consequences.
In 1985, a group of black women came together in Los Angeles to stop the construction of a toxic waste incinerator in their neighborhood and to recruit professors and health officials. Two years later, the city dropped its plans. The Affected Citizens of South Central Los Angeles Group continues to exist as a nonprofit that develops affordable housing, runs youth programs and cleans streets.