Although the number of African American women who have access to higher education increases annually, the problem is still that these females face certain barriers while obtaining the education. These barriers can include bias, stereotyping, exclusion, isolation, and the lack of support among others (Szymanski & Lewis, 2016). As a result, African American women experience significant stress, choose not to graduate, and these factors influence their further social and professional adaptation in the U.S. society. Researchers accentuate the necessity of developing certain educational and public policies to address the problem of higher education barriers faced by many African American women in U.S. colleges and universities (Bartman, 2015; Szymanski & Lewis, 2016). Therefore, in the context of public administration, the rationale for researching African American females’ higher education barriers is that much attention should be paid to defining particular obstacles and proposing recommendations regarding educational and public policies to address these barriers and contribute to the adaptation of women of color in colleges and universities, as well as to their further professional development.
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Importance of research on African American women’s barriers to a higher education
Currently, many African American women report that they experience certain problems while obtaining a higher education, and these factors can potentially be associated with the low number of women of color taking leadership roles in U.S. organizations and with an overall rate of unemployment for African American women (Davis & Maldonado, 2015). From this point, it is important to define specific higher education barriers that can influence the experiences of African American women in this field. Therefore, it is significant to conduct research that is focused on determining particular barriers faced by women of color on their paths to higher education.
The rationale for researching from the perspective of public administration
After identifying and analyzing these higher education barriers, it is possible to concentrate on formulating recommendations related to the field of public administration to improve the situation in U.S. higher education institutions and create conditions for overcoming the identified barriers. The reason is that educational institutions are expected to promote equity and diversity about all students despite their race or gender. Still, some institutional policies or practices can lead to developing barriers for African American women to obtain higher education (Szymanski & Lewis, 2016). The identification of these obstacles as a result of researching the field is important to make the first steps to addressing the discussed public administration issue.
Policies for educational institutions
Additional research is required to study cultural and institutional bias typical of many U.S. colleges and universities and to promote the administration of educational institutions with data regarding practices that can influence African American females’ experiences and educational or professional success. According to Bartman (2015), the problem of the underrepresentation of African American females in institutions should be resolved to address inequalities and imbalance to employment rates and social status. The problem is that educational institutions often cannot guarantee the realization of ideas of diversity and equality in practice. As a result, women of color face barriers despite receiving access to higher education (Szymanski & Lewis, 2016). Thus, researching experiences of African American women regarding higher education, it is possible to identify barriers, discuss policies to address them, and prevent negative effects on occupational opportunities for these females.
From this point, more research on African American women’s experiences on their paths to higher education and possible barriers is required. The focus should be on the importance of this research for the field of public administration as it is necessary to discuss public and institutional policies that are effective to address the problem. Therefore, it is significant to determine obstacles faced by African American females in educational institutions and examine possibilities for formulating policies to contribute to the adaptation of women of color in these institutions.
Bartman, C. C. (2015). African American women in higher education: Issues and support strategies. College Student Affairs Leadership, 2(2), 1-7.
Davis, D. R., & Maldonado, C. (2015). Shattering the glass ceiling: The leadership development of African American women in higher education. Advancing Women in Leadership, 35(1), 48-64.
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Szymanski, D. M., & Lewis, J. A. (2016). Gendered racism, coping, identity centrality, and African American college women’s psychological distress. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 40(2), 229-243.