Economic Strides, Healthcare Concerns for Asian-American Women

 / Updated 

A new report released by the White House’s Council on Women and Girls reveals some startling facts about the state of American women of color today -- detailing everything from educational issues to health conditions. In particular, Tina Tchen -- the Executive Director for the Council on Women and Girls -- pointed out in an interview with NBC News that Asian-American women can be disproportionately affected by many of the issues covered.

“In particular, Asian-American women are less likely than women of any other race to be screened for breast and cervical cancer,” said Tchen. “It’s incredible.”

Tchen and the Council attribute that stark disparity in part to cultural barriers that may prevent some women from getting regular exams, and Tchen pointed to the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act and the increased availability of health screenings as particularly good news for women of color.

“We have met women who never had health insurance and therefore have never had a primary care exam from a physician,” said Tchen. “In the Asian-American community, the language barrier on top of that particularly means that you are not getting information on what it means to get a mammogram or what it means to get a cervical exam- and these are pretty invasive exams, so you need to understand why they are important.”

The report -- “Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity” -- also examines the current economic state of American women. Tchen notes that Asian-American women have made great strides in recent years in both higher education and as entrepreneurs, with Asian women owning their own businesses at a much higher rate than the generation population.

The researchers found that while the percentage of women-owned businesses grew by 59 percent between 1997 and 2013, the number of Asian-American women-owned businesses skyrocketed -- growing by 156 percent during that same time period.