An article in Slate takes an unflinching look at how white women have benefited in the workplace from the sweat of black and brown women.
In Rethinking Work-Life Balance for Women of Color Kimberly Seals Allers makes the case that many of the gains made by white women in the workforce, including the quest for work-life balance, would not have been achieved without black and brown women relieving them of domestic burdens:
Throughout history, white women have used the labor of women of color to reduce their own domestic burden and free themselves up for corporate and civic pursuits. Simply put, the labor of Black, Hispanic and Asian American women has raised white women’s standard of living.
Seals Allers notes that since the 20th century, black women have held jobs in greater numbers than white women. “As early as 1900, 26 percent of married black women were employed, compared to only 3.2 percent of white women.”
She points out that much of this work by black women was domestic work. “…we breast-fed your babies. We raised your children. We cleaned your houses. We did your laundry. We cooked your food,” she writes. Seals Allers also mentions that even today, women of color still make up the largest portion of domestic workers.