In recognition of Black History Month, we spend some time considering the state of black women at work in America, and the racism behind it. In this episode, we will see that Black women are paid less, have fewer benefits, are promoted with less frequency and occupy fewer management positions than their white counterparts. We also ask ourselves, and our listeners to take action to address these disparities that permeate every workplace.
This episode is full of contradictions, which reflects the racism Black women face in the American workplace. While Black women have always (and currently) participated more than white women in the labor force, regardless of age, marital status or the presence of children, they have not reaped the rewards of that higher level of participation.
Black women have been excluded from social programs because of their relatively high rates of employment as compared to white women, which is ironic when we consider the stereotype image of the black welfare mother with all the kids – turns out those programs did not even cover Black women when they began. Legislative protections for workers have excluded Black women because the industries they have typically occupied have been excluded, such as household workers and agriculture. Racism is many awful and injurious things, but it is also ironic.
Studies show this reality affects the way Black women feel about their work – and we know from prior episodes the importance of our perceptions about the workplace.
According to a Gallup poll, Black women are less likely to feel valued, less likely to feel they are treated with respect, and less likely to feel treated fairly at work than any other group. Despite these feelings, Black women remain highly ambitious and ready to succeed in the workplace.
Tune in to find out what organizations and individuals can do about racism directed at Black women in the workplace.