Black Women and Diversity…The Struggle is Real
We’re thinking about diversity. So that’s enough, right?
It’s the new buzz word…”Diversity and Inclusion Training”…
Heads of companies across America are keenly aware of the need to attract a diverse workforce. This has resulted in a new normal of a marked increase in training focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, (sometimes referred to as DEI). Even with such an increase in awareness and apparent effort to address the topic head on, the Black community is still disproportionately underrepresented. The problem of Black women and diversity is very real, especially when it comes to corporate leadership. What seems to be the missing link? How can managers within all of these companies become the engine for change?
Take that concept and add the additional challenge of being a woman working in an American midsize company. Gender discrimination tops the list in locations across the country. But a black woman or other woman of color, sees gender bias compounded with the potentially greater challenges of race based discrimination. This one two punch against Black women and diversity makes it all but impossible for these women to make it to the top of the corporate ladder.
Can black women really reach the top?
At present, the Fortune 500 companies have 41 women and their top positions. This is actually an increase from 2019, when there were 33. With that said it’s still less than 10%, 8.2 to be exact. A quick comparison of the workforce overall shows black women in the US making-up of 7% of the population. However many of those same black women comprise 12% of minimum wage earners, (according to data from Lean In). It gets worse at the top. In the highest level executive jobs a.k.a. the “C suite“ 21% are women, Yet black women total only 1%.
What’s it really like for Black women and diversity, though?
Last summer Rachel E. Cooke, deputy director of communications at leanin.org, spoke with “make it”, the lifestyle and success blog site produced by CNBC. She didn’t mince words either, saying, “There’s a very clear trend that women are having a harder time in the workplace than men, women of color are having a harder work experience than White women and Black women are having sort of the hardest experience overall.”
While training classes in the idea of implementing diversity and inclusion are warm and fuzzy, there’s a much deeper problem. There is a broader failure, in general, of diversity and inclusion efforts across the United States. It comes down to a lack of leadership, sexism and racism and the overall experience black women have in the workplace. Make it takes on this topic with Cooke and several other notables from the diversity and inclusion field. Read the full article here.
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