I know several women of color that I'm fairly certain will one day rule the world. There are my girlfriends: fast-moving, fast-thinking, and super dynamic. My mother and sister: brilliant and level-headed. They are always calm in any crisis (a gene that seems to have skipped me). My daughter and nieces: Don't be fooled because they are ridiculously cute. These ladies will be your boss one day and trust me - working for them will not be a walk in the park. But apparently, the odds are against all of them - myself included.
We talk a lot about the issues women face in the workplace. Women make 79 cents to every man's dollar. Women are woefully underrepresented in leadership positions. But this is not equitable for all women. Specifically, women of color.
Women of color make so much less than men, it's crazy. According to this article, Black women make 60 cents to every White man's dollar and Hispanic women/Latinas make 55 cents to every White man's dollar. That's almost half as much. HALF. Now, 79 cents is not ok, but 55 cents?? That is so unbelievably unacceptable.
While White women make up 24.3% of private sector executive positions in the U.S., Black and Hispanic women make up 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively. And if you are wondering, no - that isn't representative of their numbers in the workforce. And certainly not representative of their numbers in the general population. For more information, check out this chart. If you're not in the U.S., I'd love to hear some of your numbers. Are these numbers the same in other countries? Better? Worse? Leave a comment below.
If we're going to talk about equal pay for equal work and helping women to reach their potential in the work world, we need to talk about the whole picture. The 79 cents to every dollar quote that we hear thrown around is really just not accurate. If you are going to say 79 cents, you need to talk about White women as compared to White men, because the picture looks entirely different if you are a person of color. That 79 cents number does not represent me. Or my aforementioned girlfriends. Or my mother and sister. Or my daughter and nieces. The gap that applies to us is much more significant.
So, you better believe that I'll be teaching my daughter (and my son for that matter - look closely at the chart - this applies to all women and anyone of color) that she will need to demand that she is paid what she is worth. Or better yet, start your own company and grow it until you are the boss. What will you teach your daughter/niece/cousin/friend? Leave a comment below.
Either way I have no doubt that my little girl will become a force to be reckoned with - a serious #ladyboss. Because that apple does not fall far from its tree...
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Dr. Sweeney is a licensed school psychologist and cultural competence expert. Here are her musings on life in a multicultural world.
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