What’s it like being black and female in Corporate America?
First, despite black women pursuing college degrees at a high rate, they are also the last to be considered for leadership positions.
What this means is that with less representation available in managerial roles, the likelihood of climbing into even higher corporate positions is slim.
Leaders tend to promote people that look like them and this lack of access increases the chances that when decisions are being made, it would not be to the benefit of the black female.
Second, black women also tend to be plagued by stereotypes. In the podcast, we’ve shared that despite a black woman being qualified for promotion, her “attitude” often comes up. The successes and merits of a black woman’s work is often questioned by others, instead of her aptly receiving the recognition and praise that is deserving.
This positions her as someone who needs to work twice. She needs to work to accomplish the task, as well as to prove her character.
But is her white counterpart constantly questioned?
In our podcast, Intersectional Invisibility: Black and Female in Corporate America, we hear directly from black women about what the corporate world is like for them.
In addition, below you’ll find three recommendations on how black women can make strides in their careers.
Build on your expertise
Make it a priority to accept the relevant corporate training available to you. This will allow you to build on your skillset and puts you in a position to even utilize it on side projects that get you paid. Truth is, there are clients everywhere, not just your employer.
You can continue contributing to your employer’s success while also thinking in terms of abundance, by making the most of your expertise in and outside of the office.
Your career isn’t built on one employer.
By building up your current expertise, you can better position yourself to move forward, including to a better opportunity with another company.
Find a Support System
Black women need to incorporate learning from others to get ahead faster. This does not mean only learning from your supervisor. Seeking out an advisor, even virtually, might create the momentum you need to move ahead.
Mentorship remains critical for advancement in the corporate world as gaining information allows an employee to leverage their expertise while navigating company politics.
Support systems can not only save you time, but they can empower you to not be afraid to cut your losses if you’re thinking about moving on from a job. So ask for support when it’s needed.
Invest in your wellbeing
Part of being supported includes investing in your well-being.
COVID-19 has caused many people to tighten their belts when it comes to saving money.
However, though there’s nothing wrong with saving money, you can’t shrink your way to growth.
Think about how you can nurture yourself.
Do you need to get your hair done regularly to feel confident on Zoom calls?
Do you need to sign up for a virtual personal trainer?
Do you need a monthly massage or to talk to a therapist?
Invest in your wellbeing, so that you’re better able to function in your daily life and at work.