Added: Tito Morena - Date: 23.02.2022 06:18 - Views: 17449 - Clicks: 3798
I have spent more than six years working in the technology space as a user-experience researcher and deer. A study from the National Center for Women and Information Technology NCWIT found that although the of women in computing professions has increased sinceso has the of women who leave tech companies and careers.
This should not come as a shock when we think about the systemic discrimination of our patriarchal society and the ways in which it manifests in the tech ecosystem, disproportionately affecting underrepresented women. Unwelcoming environments, stereotypes, and being overlooked for promotions are just some of the reasons women of color leave the sector.
Microaggressionsunconscious biasand lack of representation are effective in upholding and enabling racism and discrimination in the workplace, and women of color regularly endure mansplaining, interruptions, and inappropriate compensation in an industry that has not done enough to level the playing field. I also offer actionable ways in which we can begin to better support women of color in the workplace, across industries and disciplines, in the hope of creating more equitable and inclusive spaces. Beal to describe the simultaneous forms of sexism and racism experienced by Black women, and women of color more broadly.
It also exposes the ideology that the more an individual is marginalized, the more likely they are to be exploited. Research has shown how double jeopardy negatively affects the professional lives of women of color. The of women of color in top-level executive positions reflects this impact. Org, women of color comprise only 4 percent of C-level positions despite representing approximately 18 percent of the US population.
This stands in sharp contrast to white men, who for 68 percent of these positions but represent only 31 percent of the US population. White women make up 19 percent of these positions while also representing approximately 30 percent of the US population. The factors preventing women of color from advancing at work are ificantly different from those holding back white women and men of color. For instance, Black women are held at higher standards than their white male and female peers; Native American women suffer from one of the largest pay gaps ; and employers are less likely to hire Middle Eastern women who wear a hecarf than other applicants.
The difference between the two terms is that the concrete ceiling is a term specifically made for women of color. The ramifications of double jeopardy and the concrete ceiling in the professional lives of women of color are seemingly endless. White standards of professionalism, leadership norms and biases, emotional and mental exhaustion, and the lack of management support are just some of the ways individuals and organizations uphold racism in the workplace.
Despite well-intentioned efforts to advance diversity, inclusion, and equity in workplaces, stories like this stand to be the measure of who sits at the top of the corporate ladder—where women of color remain severely underrepresented. Our systems, institutions, and workplace cultures were not built with women of color in mind.
From leadership qualities to performance reviews, our metrics for evaluating competence, skill level, and potential are centered on whiteness and are heavily skewed to favor masculinity. Subtle yet pervasive doubts about competence, intelligence, and skill unrelated to actual performance are common struggles for women of color, and function as barriers to career advancement. These manifest most dramatically in perceptions of leadership. From large enterprises to small businesses, management teams remain predominantly led by white men, who instantiate the culture and values of that organization and of the sector at large.
This value system includes a definition of leadership that is one dimensional and prejudiced. In a Harvard Business Review articlesocial justice scholar Marlette Jackson and strategy firm ModelExpand CEO Paria Rajai argue that our standards of who and what leadership looks like often ignore women of color, and instead favor Western credentials and attributes largely embodied by white men. These include being competitive, dominant, objective, aggressive, and masculine. Ultimately, these outcomes perpetuate the notion that leadership roles are not attainable for women of color, and that we inherently do not have the qualities and potential required to break through the standards that we are measured against.
It creates an unfair environment that not only casts us aside, but also penalizes us because we do not fit the mold.
Add to this the mental and emotional burden of working in hostile work environments, it should not come as a surprise that women of color are leaving the tech workforce in alarming s. We never felt we belonged in the first place. In her article on ambient belonging, sociologist Sapna Cheryan argues that while stereotypes affect the retention of women in technical fields, they also work as barriers that prevent women from developing an interest in these fields. Acting as an invisible weight at workthis level of exclusion manifests mentally, emotionally, and physically.
An important aspect of emotional tax is the state of being on guard. The report found that employees who feel on guard are most likely to face challenges that affect their well-being and are more inclined to leave their employers. Leadership and management teams across industries, not just in tech, have not been successful in acknowledging the long-term effects of racial and gender discrimination on the day-to-day lives of women of color.
Additionally, they have not created pathways to remove the many roadblocks that affect the careers and well-being of women of color. Org report, although it is not always a conscious decision by managers, women of color often report to bosses who are less likely to promote their work and contributions, help them navigate organizational politics, or socialize with them outside of work. Women of color do not lack ambition or confidence; we are often reporting to managers who do not support us in overcoming the challenges that stand in the way of our career growth and advancement.
Because of this, we are often left out of the networks that could help us move forward in our careers. A key factor remains to be the lack of opportunity to lead or participate in important projects that can increase employee visibility and competitiveness for promotion.
The decision about who should be ased to these projects lies in the hands of senior executives, who are for the most part white and male. Coupled with research that has shown that white Americans have, on average, 91 times as many white friends as Black friends, white and male leaders promote employees similar to how they choose friends.
Consequently, this reinforces existing gender and racial biases. Women of color often do not receive the level of support they need to advance professionally. Two prevalent forms of this lack of support are:. Diversity initiatives have failed and strategies around inclusivity have not yielded the intended. Are we doing enough to rede our workplaces, policies, and practices to accommodate for all individuals?
Are those in positions of power really listening, speaking up, challenging the status quo, and using their privilege to promote a culture of belonging, and inclusivity? And are we holding our leaders and organizations able when measures and targets put in place have not been achieved? Below are five actionable ways that leaders and management teams can begin to level the playing field for women of color:.
Your experiences are real, and they need to be validated. The system has failed us, and despite our resilience and ambition, we are struggling with the limitations of our workplace structures and cultures. The current standards for professionalism exclude us, and our senior leadership teams have not been successful in supporting us in our career growth. So, what do we do now? We must work together not just to crack the concrete ceiling but to destroy it. Only then can we begin to see the benefits of truly inclusive and equitable workplaces that value and support all of us.
stories by Hanieh Khosroshahi. Illustration by Nyanza D. This series aims to explain how racism operates within organizations and create conversation about racial justice, dignity, and belonging. X SSIR. I Agree.Seeking female of color
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The Concrete Ceiling