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The State Of Black Women in Corporate America




Lean In and McKinsey have published the report State Of Black Women in Corporate America today. Based on research on experiences from black women in the workplace, the report examines research from their annual collaborative study, Women in the Workplace. In Time for the Black Woman for Equal Pay, Lean In wanted to look at what keeps black women behind in the workplace and how they can support the full justice of all women at work.

What is Black Women's Equal Pay Day?

Today marks the end of the calendar year 201

9 for black women. In other words, if a white male and a black woman started working on January 1, 2019, it will take a black woman by August 13, 2020 to earn what a white man earned by the end of December 31, 2019. Black women must work another eight months to close the pay gap for white male colleagues.

I had a moment to spend some time with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and co-founder of LeanIn.org, to discuss the report and her thoughts on what Black Women & # 39 ;s Equal Pay Day means to all women. Her big takeaway is that the most important step is to confront prejudice: "The data shows that if you think you are not biased, you are showing more of the bias because you are not taking steps to correct it."

Let us examine the three most unpleasant norms in society that black women in the workplace face daily.

Racism

Although many employers want to believe that they are "color blind" and fully inclusive from the point of view of promotion, especially black women see the difference between the inclusion of shares and quotas. Unlike white women who face sexism at work, black women face sexism and racism on a daily basis, which is an extra pressure for black women to go "beyond" than their white counterparts.

Black women have always lived with racist experiences and micro-aggressions at work. This contributes to the achievement gap, which results in a level of expectation where black women see a different glass ceiling than their white counterparts. According to the Lean In study, 49% of black women report that they believe their race or ethnicity will make it more difficult to get a promotion or promotion, compared to 3% of white women. In the United States as a whole, only 58 black women for every 100 white men promoted to leadership roles are advanced in the same way.

Microaggressions

The report outlines a common theme that black women struggle with on a daily basis: microaggressions. These are the constantly subtle comments that seek to undermine a black woman's qualifications, education and / or experience. Comments like "You speak so well for a black woman" or "I did not think you knew how to do it", or even sayings like "Girlfriend" or "Last" are subtle indicators that make black women feel underestimated.

More than one in four black women surveyed say that they have experienced a colleague at work, who was surprised by their language skills. It has become a normalized expectation that black women at work speak in an urbanized tone and are often perceived as "angry".

The "only"

Black women know all too well the feeling of being the only one in the room. I remember the first days of my career in America as the only black woman to work in a law firm with 250 people in New York City, while I felt used than valued. It is a common experience.

"Black women who are Onlys often report that they feel closely monitored, on guard and under increased pressure to perform," the study says. Only 17% of black women who are Onlys at work say they feel included. Onlys feel a unique pressure to outperform at work because they feel a sense that all black people are judged by the performance of a black woman.

What must employers do to make black women feel included?

"Especially at the age of Coronavirus, the average woman spends an additional 21 hours doing homework per week due to telecommuting policies. For the average black woman, there is even more," says Sandberg. "This is a moment for everyone to pay attention and gain insight into how to correct such prior income."

What can be done? The report from of Black Women in Corporate America outlines a few strategies that employers can implement.

Evaluate Your Diversity and Inclusion Policy

While many companies are happy to address the gender gap for women, black women have always believed that gender diversity was designed specifically for white women. "[Let] everyone knows that the company will prioritize the advancement of black women …. Not only is it the right thing to do, it's good for business," according to the report.

Making gender and racial policies limits the double-discrimination micro-aggressions that affect productivity and performance. This is also known as intersectionality. In addition, the report suggests that companies should make calculations to examine how this proactive approach to the intersection of race and gender works.

Compassion during Turbulent Times of Racial Justice

The recent assassination of Geroge Floyd in Minneapolis was difficult for most black people to deal with. But for black women, the video of a black man dying while praying for his deceased mother was especially difficult to watch, as many black women thought of their sons, brothers and fathers at that moment.

Employers should be aware of how violence against black people in the news affects black women at work. Many of your employees go home every day to a different set of factors and experiences than their white employees, which can cause them to be distracted as today's continued racial justice continues to hinder black communities and families.

The Lean In report states: "For a workplace to feel inclusive, it is critical that all employees are aware of events … that disproportionately affect black society." Employers cannot continue to ignore the issues affecting the lives of their employees, which have been the main focus of the Black Lives Matter movement. All life will matter when Black Lives Matter.

Discounts never pain in black women as "too emotional." There are generational and systemic traumas that other marginalized groups may not understand. Black women need empathy and compassion, instead of ignoring the pain.

Revision of your hiring practices

To ensure that black women are in the promotion pipeline, take a look at the historical data on how your company has on board and promoted internally. A great recommendation is to use anonymous resumes. Studies have shown that candidates with white-sounding names are 50% more likely to be invited to an interview than black-sounding names. By inviting a third party to work with your company to anonymize the names, hiring decisions are based on qualifications, rather than subtle biases.

The views expressed here by the Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.


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