Posted by: alexisspain | March 31, 2016

Did we lose someone along the way?

Hey everyone! So I know in class we have talked about the gender gap within specific high ranking leadership position in specific industries quite a bit. But, I feel something relevant, due to social norms in society, has been left out of our discussions in large part— the LGBTQ+ community and how ethnicity plays into women obtaining leadership roles. I read an article entitled “Why the Gender Leadership Gap Is So Much Worse for Women of Color” and it gave insights into both dimensions I feel we have skipped over for the most part.

The article noted a recent study that found that fewer than 3% of board directors at Fortune 500 companies are Asian, African American, or Hispanic, this including men and women. Looking at a specific group of women that has been marginalized within the workplace, a study found that Latinas in particular are subject to a different set of preconceived biases than other groups; Latina women who behave assertively we found to be at risk for being seen as “angry” or “emotional,” even when they reported that they were not angry. Asian women have been categorized as more feminine and Black women more masculine than white women vying for leadership positions.

The article also mentioned that although the data on + women leaders might not be readily available, one new study revealed that women who identified as being on the non-traditional gender spectrum on their resumes received fewer callbacks than their straight peers when applying to jobs. These statistics are pretty ridiculous and frustrating, especially in this day in age. We have been going through a social revolution when considering gender for almost two decades now and when considering ethnicity or race…well that has been a battle for over a century. So why are we still combating it now?

The obvious answer is that times have been changing but society’s perceptions regarding gender and race stereotypes have not been. We are still operating under the assumption that once a stereotype has been recognized as a plausible cause for something else, we must adopt it to use as a filter future information. And yes, I will admit that we have unconscious biases and judgments ingrained in us that affect the way we few the world, which in large part depend on how we have been brought up, and often times they do predetermine some of the implicit biases we may hold. Often times those biases are centered towards specific gender types and races. At least in my experience, that is what I have noticed. So what do we do about the gender and race biases that are making closing the gender and race gap in the workplace possible?

One would think that the protections already in place would be enough to combat the issue, but according to another study they really make no direct impact on lowering the amount of discrimination that takes place in trying to obtain and keep a leadership position in an organization, especially when it comes to being a woman. A reason they don’t work is because of the loop holes that exist in the legislation. Thus, we need to make better public policy to defend the marginalized groups of potential women leaders. I know this sounds easier said than down, so I propose that ordinary citizens such as myself take up arms in another way. For me, and many others, the answer to this conundrum is to first recognize that the great thing about being a human is that we have free will to choice in deciding if we want to adopt societies biased stereotypes as our own. So simply choose not to let yourself make gender and race biased choices based on stereotypes. Second, use your voice to remind others of their bias. Make people aware of the issue, because often times it is unconscious.

Below are two charts that exemplify the issue. If you are like me, it’s easier to see the discrepancy if it’s made into simple displays such as these. Enjoy!



  1. I love that you brought this up! The subject of my second interview is essentially my godmother, and I had a conversation recently with her husband recently that this piece reminded me of. They are both African-American and very successful businesspeople, but my godfather in particular is incredibly homophobic. During this particular conversation, he said that he hires LGBTQ+ people to his company, but then proceeded to say many bigoted things about them. Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to think that the employers that have faced discrimination such as my godfather would be part of a group of progressive trailblazers, it might not be that true.

  2. Thanks for bringing this up, I believe this is a big issue within our society but like most, it is one without a clearcut solution. Something many people come back to in this debate is the historical discrepancy in the number of people of color who hold graduate and even undergraduate degrees. Increasing these numbers would be good starting place and allow for the development of successful women of color in academics that would hopefully translate to the executive world as well.

  3. This is very interesting and reminds me of the readings of women in film. It would be interesting to see how those numbers change on a global scale and if the numbers are closely related. It would also be interesting to see those numbers compared to different countries markets. I know we often talk about this issue from just the perspective of the United States but each country would have different population sizes and different companies that are considered the top. I know culture affects the global market as well as looking at individual countries so it would all be interesting to look at the cultural differences and how the number of women in positions change.

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