Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New study provides insight into lack of diversity in corporate America  

Even the most racist and sexist will agree that there is an enormous lack of women, especially women of color, in high corporate positions. A new study shows that, in addition to racism and sexism, weaker or less strategic networks and inaccurate perceptions of their abilities could be what is keeping Black women down. From an article on Yahoo! News:

One percent of senior corporate officers are black women, according to the ELC, compared with 3 percent for black men, 14 percent for white women and 77 percent for white men.

The ELC questioned 150 executives, ranging from vice presidents to CEOs and board members from a variety of industries and locations, about reasons for the disparities. Thirty-one percent cited networking and 24 percent cited a perception gap as hindering the advancement of black women. Fifteen percent cited racism.

Seventy-five percent of the respondents said it was important to have senior executives who are minorities in order to provide new ideas and innovation and better reflect the diversity of their customers.

"If you have the same group of people looking at the same issues, you will come up with the same solutions," said Carl Brooks, CEO of the ELC.

To overcome these barriers, black women executives should seek challenging, high-profile assignments; create action plans for accomplishing their career goals; work with executive coaches; and take advantage of critical feedback, respondents said.

It's just one our society's incredibly vicious cycles that needs to be broken immediately.

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