Progress for women in corporate America isn’t just slow—it’s stalled, according to new research from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. For women of color, and for black women executives especially, it’s even worse.
The stats laid out in Women in the Workplace 2018 are appalling:
- Only one in 25 C-suite leaders is a woman of color
- Four in 10 black women never have interactions with senior leaders about their work
- For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 60 black women are
- Black women and lesbian women experience microaggressions at a higher rate than women overall, at 69% and 71%, respectively
Perhaps most glaring is the lack of support black women receive from their managers. Says the study:
Black women are far less likely to get help navigating organizational politics and balancing work and personal lives, and managers are less likely to promote their accomplishments. The same dynamic holds true for access to managers: only about a third of black women socialize with their manager outside of work, compared to about half of white women.
In fact, the research notes that black women actually receive the least support, with fewer black women than white women, Asian women, Latina women, lesbian women, and—of course—men reporting that their manager provides the resources they need to succeed.
“I would like a manager who respects and values my opinions, especially in my realm of expertise. I’d love to be asked, ‘What are your thoughts?’ Or, ‘We’re having this meeting. Can I pull you in on this?’ But that doesn’t happen,” says one of the black women interviewed for the study. Adds another: “My manager doesn’t help me with workplace politics. She tells me I should stay quiet.”
The report, which uses pipeline data and HR practices from 279 companies plus surveys of 64,000 employees, shows that corporate America has a long way to go when it comes to the inclusion and advancement of black women executives.
“The business case for diversity is clear. Research shows it leads to better performance, more innovation, and stronger economic growth. Still, year after year, the gender gap in corporate America remains,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org, in a statement.
“Improving the representation of women is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do,” Sandberg continued. “Women are leaning in. Companies need to lean in, too.”