MadameNoire Featured Video

a Black woman's power in the workplace

Source: Brenda Sangi Arruda / Getty

Initiatives to advance women – you see those often (kind of) in professional settings. But you don’t see enough that specifically exists to advance the careers of Black women. And it must be acknowledged that Black women face more obstacles, more discrimination and more challenges than white women. Initiatives developed just to service all women do not address the specific needs of Black women. Black women, without question, face more than one glass ceiling. Once they’ve broken through the first glass ceiling that any woman must, there’s a second one that exists called racism.

If you need proof, consider this: while white women make on average 74 cents to the dollar of white men, Black women make 64 cents to the dollar of white men, says the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Black women don’t just face gender discrimination, they also face occupational segregation, more motherhood penalties than white women, and additional discrimination that is directly tied to race. That is why while women of all races need to be aware of ways they unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers, Black women must be extra vigilant in upholding their power and asserting their value in professional settings. We gathered information and advice from successful Black women in several fields and extensive data on behaviors that diminish a Black woman’s power in the workplace.



Doing Someone Else’s Job

Young Latin Female Human Resources Manager Working With A Black Female Colleague

Source: AzmanL / Getty

Research on gender and racial discrimination in STEM published in Harvard Business Review (HBR) shows that Black women are significantly more likely than women of other races to be mistaken for someone in an administrative or custodial role.

If it is not your job to grab that coffee, arrange the birthday celebration in the break room, tidy up after a meeting…you get it…don’t do it. You worked hard to earn your role, and if that job description doesn’t involve administrative or custodial work, pass those tasks off to those who do officially hold those titles.

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