Per the National Library of Medicine, allostatic load is “the wear and tear on the body” which accumulates as an individual is exposed to repeated or chronic stress.
Black women’s loads seem way heavier than they seem to bear, particularly compared to other racial groups. Health disparities and care gaps are much higher for minorities, particularly low-income Black women.
Chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and mental health challenges have contributed significantly to the stress impacting Black women every day. The most recent numbers from the U.S. Census bureauset life expectancy 72-years-old for Black people, the lowest since 2000 and below that estimated for other racial and ethnic groups. This gap has been pervasive for years but widened significantly since COVID-19. Due to this outsized allostatic load.
“I was supposed to bring some Black Girl Magic and that was unfair to me because I was really excited about this opportunity,” said Minda Harts in an interview with Fortune’s L’Oreal Payton. Harts left her career in fundraising after facing mounting professional and social pressure. According to the outlet, she has since struck out on their own a workplace and equity consultant. “But once I found out what it really entailed, I realized it was a battle I was not going to win.”
Like Harts, many Black women feel as if they are constantly facing an uphill battle.
In fact, as the Institute For Women’s Research and Policy writes: women of color are more likely to fall into poverty in retirement because they are less likely than white women to have retirement plans available through their employer.
Pew Research report from 2020 says “that while more than half of Americans (52%) have some investments in the stock market through retirement accounts, just 31% of non-Latinx Black and 28% of Latinx households own some stocks, compared to the 61% non-Latinx white households.”