Written By: Girl Tyler
New year, new career goals. The month of January ushers in 365 pathways to exciting professional opportunities. While many people will opt for entrepreneurship or “The Great Resignation,” the mass exodus of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs, millions of others will continue climbing the corporate ladder. For Black women, fighting the good fight along the pathway to an executive role is met with adversity, and a unique set of barriers called sexism and racism.
According to the McKinsey & Company “Women in the Workplace 2021” report, Black women tend to face more obstacles in workplace advancement than other employees. The study found that for every 100 men promoted to a leadership position, only 58 Black women are promoted. The issue of allyship also plays a role in workplace marginalization. Workplace bias, pay disparities, and microaggressions are just a few reasons why approximately 15% of Black women in the study reported not feeling support from their manager. And, of course, social issues come into play. Only one in three Black women said their managers expressed support during the heightened racial violence of 2020 and 2021.
The good news is, you’re not alone. In recent years, Black women have spoken out about the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level in professional spaces. We’ve seen it play out in many TV shows, from Being Mary Jane to Insecure. Podcasters tackle these topics on their platforms, and every day women speak out about their experiences on social media.
Although you may feel isolated, even ostracized in your pursuit of excellence, go forth with confidence, knowing that countless women have your back. I reached out to three equity advocates, driving progress for Black women in the workplace to share their best piece of advice on success and defying advancement obstacles in 2022.
"In the new year, I would encourage women of color to show up in their most authentic ways. They get to define what authenticity means to them. This will enhance their career journey, and that requires them to be acutely aware of how they are conveying information that demonstrates equity that might be helpful to their career growth. We can no longer let people opt into equity; it has to be mandatory. It's time we center ourselves and let our colleagues know what "good" looks like to us." -Minda Harts, author of Right Within: How to Heal from Racial Trauma in the Workplace and The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table
-Follow Minda on Twitter: @mindaharts
“Women need to leverage their communities in 2022. We no longer have to endure hostile workplaces in isolation. We must own our power to transform environments and ensure that all women are safe in spaces that may not have been designed for them.”
-Dr. Monica Cox, Authenticity Coach & CEO, STEMinent LLC and author of Excellence: Why Being Average is Never An Option
-Follow Dr. Cox on Twitter: @drmonicacox
“KNOW where you're going. Not defined as a role, but as an impact destination—a point of arrival where purpose meets passion and turns into power for you. FLOW in your differentiated value - that thing (or things) you're distinctively good at that comes easily and sets you apart. GO toward your power destination by identifying the 5 "bridge-building" materials you need to get there: skills, knowledge, experiences, behaviors, and relationships. If you have gaps between where you are and where you want to be, fill them with intention. As you do, you'll gain not only competence but confidence to step into your future like the gift to the world you are. There is no one like you. Learn to respect your own giftedness and stop looking over your shoulder. Our fear of who might step on our heels slows us down, chips away at our confidence, and trips us up. With your eyes forward, spirit settled and mind fixed, gather yourself and go do the thing you "can't not" do.” -Tara Jaye Frank, equity strategist and author of The Waymakers: Clearing the Path to Workplace Equity with Competence and Confidence along with Say Yes: A Woman's Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose.
--Follow Tara on Twitter: @TaraJFrank