Black and brown women are disproportionally affected by being discriminated against in the process of hiring someone for a job, being discriminated in the workplace and having a hard time breaking the invisible barrier called the glass ceiling. Being Black and female, Black women face both racism and sexism combined. And add institutionalized racism to racial and gender inequality as well. Hence racial, gender and class disparities along with how it affects women of color’s job prospects and breaking the glass ceiling will be discussed.
What is job discrimination?
Job Discrimination is when employers discriminate against employees based on race, gender, class etc.
Women of all races and cultures especially women of color are affected by being discriminated in being hired for a job and even when they are on the job. Many companies and corporations refuse to hire African American women and others who aren’t Caucasian, cisgender and male. And when African American women are hired for the job, many times they are the last people to be hired. Yet find themselves the first people to be fired. Hence justifying the saying that Blacks, well Black women, are the ”last to be hired but first to be fired”. And often times, women of color including also find themselves getting paid less than their Caucasian male and female counterparts and even paid less than the men in their ethnic groups respectively. Worse, many if not most women of color also face being stereotyped and overlooked during their time in the workplace.
For example, a recent study conducted by University of California’s Hasting College of Law reported that one hundred percent women of color experienced discrimination in STEM related workplaces ie Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education fields. And that African American women spoke about being stereotyped as janitors on the job. And Hispanic women stereotyped as ”crazy” and Asian women stereotyped as ”ultra feminine”. Many African American even spoke about controlling their actions and emotions so that they wouldn’t be stereotyped as the ”angry Black woman”. If some of them were mothers, they had their dedication to their job questioned by others in the workplace and their opportunities to move up the ladder dwindled. Some of the women, regardless of their racial background, face the belief that they are somehow ”less competent” than their male counterparts in the workplace due to the ingrained sexism in the field of STEM and society. A survey of women said that two thirds of them reported having to try as hard as they can to prove that they are as competent as their male counterparts. And for women of color, that number jumped seventy-seven percent. And men specifically Caucasian men were more likely to be hired even if there was a female or minority person out there with the same Math skills. And women and minorities particularly African American women find themselves less likely to be hired in this field of choice. Hence the lingering sexism (combined with racism) and lack of job opening in STEM related fields for women of the wider sexism and discrimination against women particularly women of color in society.
What is a glass ceiling?
The glass ceiling is an unseen barrier in the workplace that prevents women and minorities from progressing in the workplace.
How does the glass ceiling affect women of color?
Women of color are disproportionally affected by the glass ceiling. Many African American women have a hard time breaking through the glass ceiling, achieving equal pay for doing the same job as men in the workplace. Many college educated women of color regardless of their credentials find themselves making less than men. Historically, women have been discriminated against in the workplace due to sexism and for African American and Hispanic women, both racism and sexism combined. Women received lower pay and access to upper level positions in their jobs. In fact, men and women were even designed separate job listings for job hiring. However the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act banned discrimination against women in the workforce and banned lower pay. Unfortunately, many women of color still find themselves being paid less than their male counterparts and being segregated to ”pink collared” jobs where lower pay and less access to upward mobility in the workplace is not as likely. Worst of all, in recessions like the current Great Recession, women of color find themselves having less access to jobs and less likely to be hired especially jobs that pay well than their Caucasian counterparts.
According to the Institute of Women’s research, women working full time made $657 compared to men’s median wages of $819. Women made eighty percent of the wages men made in the same job. And race even plays a huge role in this equation as well. A working, African American single mother who has children under the age of eighteen have a net worth of zero compared to their Caucasian counterparts in the same situation. An average, single, working, Caucasian women with children under eighteen has a net worth of $7,970. This is sad concerning that most African American families are headed by single women. And being paid less than their Caucasian counterparts, they find themselves having less money to pay their bills and buy things that they need to support themselves and their families. But it just shows how deeply racism and sexism deeply affects women of color in the workplace and job hiring.
Ultimately, I am aware that job discrimination and difficulties to break the glass ceiling is an issue every woman in the workplace has to face in her life. However the unique plight and difficulties women of color face in the workplace is something that needs to be addressed because it is negatively affecting the livelihood of women of color across the country. I am aware that there are women out there who are successful in their field of choice and have broken the glass ceiling however there are many women out there who haven’t and I believe that this is an issue that needs to be discussed.
Links from where I get my information from: