Black Girls and Womyn Matter: Using Black Feminist Thought to Examine Violence and Erasure in Education


  • Ayana Tyler Hardaway Temple University
  • LaWanda W.M. Ward The Pennsylvania State University
  • Diamond Howell University of Wisconsin-Madison


As students, Black girls and womyn share a collective history of marginalization and discrimination within the P-20 education system. They disproportionately experience violence in educational settings; however, they continue to be understudied. This theoretical essay presents support for using Black Feminist Thought as an analytical framework for examining legal and policy discourses that shape and inform institutional responses to campus violence towards Black undergraduate womyn at Historically White Institutions and disproportionality in disciplinary measures for Black girls. We use this framework to explore how disciplinary and legal practices disregard intersectional identities, which results in the privileging of whiteness while rendering Black girls and womyn invisible. Implications are shared based on theoretical strategies, which promote the advancement and success of girls and collegiate Black womyn.

Author Biographies

Ayana Tyler Hardaway, Temple University

Ayana Tyler Hardaway is a fourth-year PhD Candidate of Urban Education in the Department of Policy, Organizational, & Leadership Studies in the College of Education at Temple University. Ayana’s primary research interests include exploring the intersections of race and gender within Black women and girls in educational and social contexts, campus diversity initiatives on college campuses, and critical race theory and intersectional scholarship.

LaWanda W.M. Ward, The Pennsylvania State University

LaWanda W.M. Ward is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and a Research Associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research is an exploration of the inextricable relationship of law, higher education, and multiple social identities.

Diamond Howell, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Diamond Howell is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is pursuing her PhD in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in Multicultural Education. Her research interests include Black students, and students of color at Elite boarding schools, social justice education, school/institutional climate, educational access for marginalized students, and identity development within schools.