It has been three years since many CEOs around the world vowed to play a bigger role in fighting racism following the 2020 murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
However, a new report is showing us that race and gender discrimination is still a big problem in the workplace.
About 51 percent of women in marginalized racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. and four other countries said they have experienced racism or discrimination at their workplace, according to a new survey from Catalyst.
“What this means practically is they’re experiencing discriminatory conduct and comments to outright racial slurs,” said Maggie McGrath, editor at ForbesWomen, on Thursday’s “Morning Joe.”
The survey of 2,734 women from marginalized ethnic and racial groups in Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, also found that women with darker skin tones are more likely than women with lighter skin tones to experience racism at work. It also found trans women (67 percent) and queer women (63 percent) were more likely than women with lighter skin tones to experience racism at work.
It also found trans women (67 percent) and queer women (63 percent) were more likely than women with lighter skin tones to experience racism at work.
In the report, women shared jarring stories about workplace discrimination in the report. One woman recounted how she was belittled for being from a “savage culture.” Another woman was told by a colleague that her box braids were considered unprofessional in the workplace. A third woman reported that a colleague of hers would publicly comment how lucky she was to have fair skin and blonde hair while she herself was darker skinned and had thicker hair.
“Aside from the social and emotional abuse that comes with this, there is this notion of being in an environment where you are maybe not thought of for a promotion or initiatives in the office,” said Huma Abedin, vice chair of Forbes and Know Your Value’s upcoming 30/50 summit in Abu Dhabi. “And some of these women very troublingly actually said they explore [other work] environments [where there] aren’t mostly white colleagues or predominantly white colleagues around them…It’s really a dismal report when it comes to equality.”
Researchers noted that when senior leaders display allyship and curiosity, they can decrease the “climate of silence.” This can in turn lower the likelihood that women from marginalized racial and ethnic groups will experience racism at work.
According to the survey, senior leaders need to step up. Just under half, 49 percent, of survey respondents said their senior leaders do not engage in allyship, and 43 percent said they do not engage in curiosity.
Senior leaders “need to do a lot more,” said McGrath.