The Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Oklahoma City, speaks during a rally outside the Stillwater Police Department, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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Oklahoma was recently named the worst state for women to live in, according to a study by Wallet Hub. The state, whose motto is “Imagine that,” went from 47th place to 51st for women over the last year.

Some of the key metrics included the uninsured rate for women, for which Oklahoma ranked dead last. Black women in particular are affected by a lack of health insurance, with 17.3% of Black Oklahomans uninsured.

Such a high rate of uninsured women also creates barriers to health care for Black women in Oklahoma, which rank 47th in preventative health care. Lower rates of preventative health care means Black women are not getting the necessary vaccines and mammograms they need to remain safe and healthy.

Compounding healthcare woes for Black women is Oklahoma’s 46th ranking in women’s life expectancy at birth. In fact, a recent study found that Black women across the country have a much higher maternal mortality rate than White women.

In 2020, the national maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic White women. Unsurprisingly, this is due to systemic racism in healthcare, along with healthcare deserts, which are often found in Black communities. 

Women aren’t doing OK in Oklahoma

Another aspect of the study involving Oklahoma women included voting metrics. Women in Oklahoma vote at much lower rates than in other states. 

One explanation for the low voter turnout could be Oklahoma’s extreme anti-women legislation. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed the “Save Women’s Sports Act” into law, preventing transgender women from participating in school sports. 

Oppression of the transgender community directly impacts Black women as well. As 2021 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people, most of the victims have been Black trans women

Black women in Oklahoma, who comprise approximately 4% of the state’s population, are clearly at risk as citizens. Once again, the oppression of Black women is undeniable, for which we can only say “Imagine that.”

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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