News Headlines

Survey: Black Women Face Barriers on the Job

Corporate Ladder

According to a new survey, black women face unique obstacles in climbing the corporate ladder. hide caption

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News Headlines: Aug. 22, 2007

The Indianapolis Star: Promising Black Women Face Barriers, Study Says — "The [survey] reported that unyielding stereotypes and poor utilization of the skill sets and education of black women are suppressing their talents and potential and relegating them to dead-end jobs."

What do you make of this study's findings? Have you encountered "stereotypes and poor utilization of [your] skill sets" on the job?

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Study Finds:

I think some of the study finds are very true. I've had and still have to prove myself beyond my credentials. Not too long ago, a few months after working at a company, one of the associates told me he had little expectations of me but I've exceeded all expectations. I remember sitting in the office wondering if his statement was an insult, a complement, so I would know how to react. Or maybe it was a back-handed complement; something I really despise.

But sometimes it gets draining always trying to prove your worth when you could just be. So earlier this year, I decided to try a different approach especially with an individual who tries to insult my intelligence even though he said he didn't on a couple of occasions. Once during a meeting about a situation, I asked a question. Then the guy started going through a bunch of scenarios that had nothing to do with the issue at hand. I did what I tend to do best, tune him out. When he noticed I was scribbling on my notepad, he asked me if I understood what he said. I had an innocent smile on my face when I said "I got my answer from the first sentence, you chose to give a thesis." He sat there speechless for some seconds then busted out laughing. Need I say I got a new level of respect since then?

Sent by Moji | 4:26 PM | 8-22-2007

I'm from Indianapolis and this report is generating "Amens" from Black women and raised eyebrows from everybody else. I think Sistah Farai should contact one of the principals from the article and see what she can make of it. I've spoken with attorney Darla Williams (one of the women featured in the article) and I think she'd be a wonderful place to start.

Sent by Lalita | 1:43 PM | 8-23-2007

This has been a recent topic of conversation with many of my Sisterfriends. Most disturbing in particular is the outsourcing of Word Processing departments. Prior to this 21st century practice, during the 1980s & 1990s skilled word processors -mainly women could earn "husband salaries" of $20+ per hour. These were considered respectable wages during my younger career days in NY. And perhaps considered dead end by some, these jobs allowed divorced & single mothers to successfully raise their families comfortably.

Labor in America is troubling, the working classes on all levels are walking upon uncharted ground.

Perhaps the window of labor opportunity i.e. civil service, Telco, mfg. industries, railroads etc., has dropped closer to the window sash, leaving less room for economic mobility.

My advice at this juncture of the early 21st would be that with a scarcity of big box jobs, its paramount to strive to grow self owned small business.

Sent by Grace Lynis | 1:52 PM | 8-23-2007

Thanks for the interesting story. I recently participated in online survey comparing & contrasting workplace (and other) issues between black women and white women. Over 1,100 folks responded within 24 hours. If you'd like to see the survey, the results and the additional comments, check out

Sent by Paula Penn-Nabrit | 2:50 PM | 8-23-2007

I work at a Law firm and of the six partners, two are African Americans, three are women and of the women, one is African American. She, more than likely; relates to this story. I was wondering if anyone has posed this question. Were or are the participants overthinking the situation? I am not trying to be negative or perpetuate the idea that women do face a glass ceiling. I was wondering, has anyone ever thought that they just might be not good enough or are they really entrepreneurs.

Sent by Matthew in Oakland | 2:18 PM | 8-24-2007


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