FREMONT, CA: According to Brookings, Black women earn 64 cents for every dollar a white man is paid. The intersection of race and gender really matter in terms of shaping the outcomes and the wage outcomes in particular. That is present for women of colour. Underrepresented Black women face racism in the form of subtle but pervasive doubts about competence, intelligence, and skill that are unrelated to actual performance.

When black women are one of the very few in the workplace setting, they are more likely to face these discriminatory patterns where they are subjected to expectations that they can’t succeed, that they lack the skills, that they lack the knowledge and the capabilities of advancing to upper level positions within an organisation.

In some cases women are subjected to various forms of mistreatment based on gender and the way that it intersects with race. This can lead to overt proportioning which lead to more subtle and narrower forms of harassment. What these types of environments create are spaces where it becomes very challenging for Black women to succeed and to thrive.

For workplace sexism and racism to be addressed, organizations have to make changes in several key areas. First, companies need to examine how their hiring and promotions process. A lot of the ways in which people get promoted in terms of the relationships that they have with mentors and sponsors within an organization also matters in terms of who is able to advance in organizations and who is not able to advance. Second, paying close attention to workers’ experiences is paramount. It is important for organizations to take stock of the experiences that their workers have in these settings and to be attuned to the climate and organizational culture that employees face.

Assuring all workers of color are having the same experience is also a mistake. It actually varies depending on the position where they are employed in the organization.

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