Black Women in Corporate
Black Women in Corporate
Misogynoir is a term coined in 2010 by Moya Bailey to describe the “specific hatred, dislike, distrust and prejudice directed towards Black women.”
We all have trauma and none of us have had perfect lives, but black women are subjected to this unique form of discrimination. As a result, black women especially in corporate are far too often overlooked and unnoticed.
From a recent LinkedIn survey we asked black women in corporate their experience of being one of the few black women or black people in the room and what some of the biggest challenges were navigating corporate.
47% of Black Women had experienced Racial & Gender Bias at work
12% Experienced Loneliness & Mental health issues
29% Challenges with Recognition & Salary Increase
17% Felt there were a lack of opportunities to progress up the ladder
What’s the impact of misogynoir?
Many black women who work in corporate are impacted by misogynoir. Dealing with constant prejudice can lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem, which can cause an increased risk of anxiety, depression, panic attacks and OCD.
In the workplace this process can be seen through black women feeling like they do not belong, decreasing their sense of purpose and productivity at work.
Misogynoir often leads to a heightened feeling of imposter syndrome, with an increased likelihood of black women
feeling like a fraud or not recognising their achievements as good enough.
In the corporate world, black women might be struggling to get a promotion and feel overlooked despite working much harder than their peers.
Too often, black women feel the need to over-deliver and push themselves to extreme standards, leaving them feeling
burned out and emotionally drained.
Black women frequently lack the reward or recognition that their work deserves which can be difficult to come to terms with and suggest that they constantly need to show up perfectly at work.
3 phrases of coping with misogynoir;
1. Raising awareness
It’s very important to raise awareness that these issues do continue to exist in our society and black women constantly have to fight prejudice directed towards them. Anti-racism education should also explore misogynoir and others need to listen more to the experiences of black women. This awareness process can also involve black women separating what is you from what is
projected onto you by others, such as rejecting the common stereotype of the ‘angry black woman’.
When you go through certain situations, it can be helpful to process some of it by talking to someone else that has faced similar experiences or to just be able to vent and get how you’re feeling off your chest. This will then create more space for you to be able to think about your wider perspective of the situation.
Validation is a key part of this process to help cope with the challenges faced by black women around self-esteem and imposter syndrome. When we don’t feel validated it can have a real impact on our mental health and wellbeing. When our feelings are not validated, there is an increased risk that you might find yourself less willing to trust those around you. Having your feelings validated by yourself or those close to you can also help reconnect with yourself.
Advice for black women in corporate experiencing misogynoir
- Try to make an effort to tackle the internal side of you by focusing on developing yourself. Finding your true self, who you are and what you really mean will allow you to show up as your authentic self without all of the expectations from society.
- Representation matters! If your workplace is not the most representative of people from a similar background to you, it is a good idea to surround yourself with positive people who are more representative and achieving great things both online and
offline. Greater representation can make a massive difference to the way you feel about yourself and how much you believe in your potential accomplishments
- Building a network of people who share similar values to you can be so valuable. This could be a network of other black women who are going through similar experiences. Networks can really help people identify with each other, feel less
alone and find solutions for themselves. It will give you the opportunity to share stories, how you’ve dealt with certain situations and what your feelings were.