The pandemic forced a revolution in the workplace: mass resignations led to the rise of remote work, and a shift in the balance of power between the employer and employee. Despite this change, women still face unique roadblocks in their career advancement. To find out how hard it is for women today, GOBankingRates interviewed 1,000 American women and spoke to experts. They came up with a list of challenges women face in the workplace today.
Women’s potential is more valued than women’s
In 2020, black women will face even greater challenges than White women in the workplace. They are twice as likely as White women to say that their greatest challenge is the death of a loved one. Incidents of racial violence are also taking a toll on the emotional well-being of black women. Women are being undervalued and underpaid, and this lack of representation will hurt the United States’ economy and society in general.
In recent years, gender equity has made great progress, but research continues to uncover the most significant barriers to equality. A recent study examined why firms invest less in developing women. Firms in regions with more parental leave invested less in developing female employees. As a result, more women are not receiving their first critical promotion to a manager, and are not reaching the level of senior management they could be in.
Women of color feel invisible at work
One of the most important steps that companies can take to ensure women of color feel visible at work is to make sure managers are aware of unconscious bias and call it out when it happens. This way, they will make sure that women of color know that they are appreciated and are not treated as “less than” white people. They can also highlight the contributions of women of color through internal messages and emails. They will also be more likely to seek out opportunities for advancement.
The state of being on guard is a big part of the emotional tax that women of color face at work. They must be aware of potential bias, discrimination, stereotypes, and dehumanization. When employees feel invisible in the workplace, they are less likely to be happy in their jobs and are more likely to quit. This is one of the main reasons why women of color feel invisible at work. In addition, these employees are also more likely to be burned out.
Women of color make less than White men
A new report published by Payscale on the state of the gender pay gap and compensation practices in 2022 suggests that nearly two-thirds of organizations plan to do a pay equity analysis by the year 2022. Nearly half of these organizations will use gender and race-based pay equity data, while the majority of respondents had never done so before. The report also points to increased barriers to employment and advancement for women of color.
Education is often touted as a great equalizer, but it has been proven to do little to protect women of color from the wealth and pay gap. In fact, Demos research indicates that median white adults who dropped out of high school have 70 percent more wealth than their Black or Latino counterparts who attended college. Therefore, relying on education alone will not be effective for Black women. The difference between pay gaps between white and non-Hispanic women is even greater.
Women of color face a broken rung at the first step up to manager
While women are now better represented in corporate pipelines, they continue to lose ground at the first management level. Men outnumber women in this role by 75 percent, and their representation drops further by a third up the management ladder. Women of color make up just 4% of the C-suite. This inequity is likely a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of diversity in senior leadership roles.
Companies must address these systemic problems before progressing women. Women of color face the same microaggressions as two years ago and are far more likely to encounter disrespectful behavior at the management level. While more white employees view themselves as allies to women of color, they are no more likely to speak out against discrimination, mentor or sponsor a woman of color, or advocate for female coworkers.
Women of color face a lack of opportunities
The murder of George Floyd in 2020 brought a renewed focus on diversity, but the issues surrounding hiring and advancing people of color remain largely unchanged. Microaggressions, hiring discrimination, and the stigma associated with being a woman continue to plague people of color. For example, Black women face higher barriers to advancement than white women. In addition, black women face additional challenges relating to the status of motherhood and immigration.
Wage gaps for women of color are disproportionately higher than for white men. This persists in part because white males traditionally hold the highest salaries and most leadership positions, reflecting a dominant perception of the most valuable worker in society. The fact that women of color earn a lower wage than their white male counterparts is troubling enough, but it doesn’t mean that the situation is hopeless. Women of color must be included in discussions on economic equity and pay equity.