Essence Launches “Black Woman At Work” Initiative

April 15, 2015  |  

Essence is undertaking a new initiative for Black women in the workplace. “Black Women At Work” will use findings revealed in a study commissioned by the Added Value Cheskin research firm.

“While women have achieved significant triumphs within the workplace and are confident in their credentials, Essence is committed to shifting workplace paradigms by examining the intersection of race, ethnicity and gender on African-American women,” said Essence president Michelle Ebanks.

“We have uncovered the unspoken and disparaging effect of stereotypes, real or perceived, that are limiting Black women in the workplace and confounding employers who want to promote and retain them,” said Stephen Palacios, Executive Vice-President, Added Value Cheskin. “These insights are the start of a better workplace for both.”

The study found several interesting facets about Black women in the workplace. While Black women tend to have a great deal of confidence, they must deal with negative stereotypes of Black women which makes them feel they need to either “dial up or dial down portions of their identity so as to appear as professional as possible,” reports Target Market News.

Also, 57 percent of Black women say they must look a certain way to be promoted compared with only 39 percent of non-Hispanic Whites. Forty-seven percent say they need to censor the things they say or do at work in order to be successful. Only 27 percent of non-Hispanic whites feel this way.

So to explore these findings, Essence will launch the initiative at its annual Essence Fest in New Orleans in July as well as on social media through #BlackWomenatWork. Additionally, there will host other events and panel discussions throughout the year. Essence will convene a Work & Wealth Conference, October 2015 in New York City, an interactive one-day-event features  expert keynotes, career workshops and coaching sessions for more than 500 women.

What issues do you face in the workplace?

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