Reports on the state of young women of color in New York City and provides recommendations for ways in which stakeholders can invest resources that may improve the outcomes for these young women.

The report, published in September of 2015, takes a closer look at the outcomes of young women of color living in poverty in New York City. It notes that, “According to the 2010 census, New York City is home to approximately 800,000 girls and young women, ages 9-24. Nearly 75% in that group are girls of color (black, Asian or Latina). Nearly 40% are immigrants or the daughters of immigrants. And a significant segment lives in absolute or near poverty.

The simple math tells us that low-income young women and girls comprise less than 10% of NYC’s total population. But that raw statistic gives little indication of the outsized importance of this group. Enter any low-income immigrant community or community of color, and you will see girls shouldering huge responsibilities from a very early age with minimal acknowledgement and minimal support. Barely into their teen years, they are minding younger siblings and manage major household chores. In mid-adolescence, they are taking on low-paid after-school jobs to supplement household incomes. As soon as they master English, they are serving as translators, interpreters and advocates for older relatives. And – barely out of their adolescence – many are raising children of their own” (p.2).

This blueprint is part of a larger series of reports that document challenges faced by young women of color in New York City: “The New York Women’s Foundation’s Voices from the Field series is comprised of four Blueprint for Investing in Women reports that explore the position, needs, and strategies for supporting the security and contributions of low-income NYC women during one of four major developmental periods (i.e., ages 0-8, 9-24, 25-59, and 60+). The series is based on a “Voices from the Field” approach that draws on data obtained from academic and policy research and from interviews with a cross-section of on-the-ground leaders – including members of each age cohorts. Its goals are to: (1) broaden understanding of the key role and issues of NYC’s low-income girls and women; (2) stimulate broad, productive discussion of how best to support those roles and address those issues; and (3) catalyze bold investment into promising strategies and solutions” (p.ii).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

Before providing recommendations, the report highlights the following key statistics: • “More than 40% of NYC’s black and Latina girls – and comparable percentages of girls from several new immigrant communities – are denied the care and reinforcement they need to finish high school” (p.4). • “Low-income teenage girls across all racial and ethnic backgrounds have stunningly poor rates of nutrition and fitness, high rates of asthma and obesity, and high rates of depression” (p.4). • “Several thousand girls a year – almost all girls of color – are pushed into the City’s foster care and juvenile justice systems or into the commercial sex trafficking industry” (p.4). The report then suggests an action plan and provides sector-by-sector recommendations to non-profits, public institutions (e.g., Department of Education), and philanthropic organizations, for ways to invest in young women of color. These recommendations include: Nonprofit organizations • “For providers supporting women’s employment – focus more strategically and proactively on the particular needs of out-of-school, out-of-work (OSOW) young women, ages 16-24” (p.6). Public institutions “Tailor Department of Education approaches to more specifically support girls’ challenges, strengths, and long-range prospects of academic and economic success by: • Expanding and tailoring school-based efforts (e.g., the new career and technical assistance programs (CTEs)) in ways that will provide girls with strong entrée into promising ‘nontraditional’ (and well-paid) employment tracks” (p.7). Philanthropic organizations • “Spearhead a broad-based, unflagging campaign bringing together policy-makers, heads of key City agencies, heads of major and community-based nonprofits – and diverse low-income girls and young women – to create more appropriate policies and programs for this population” (p.9). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)