A recent report published by the Runnymede Trust and the Fawcett Society focuses on the experiences and perspectives of women of colour in the workplace.
Over 3,000 women shared their workplace experiences for the purposes of the report. Its key findings showed the following:
• 75% of women of colour reported having experienced one or more forms of racism at work.
• 61% of women of colour (compared to 44% of white women) had performed the ‘mental gymnastics’ of changing something about themselves to ‘fit in’.
• Women of colour are more likely than white women to report a manager having blocked their progression at work (28% compared with 19%).
• 76% of women of colour have reported that their mental health has been impacted by racism within the workplace.
With its stark findings, the report highlights the ‘illusion of meritocracy’ in the workplace, and shows there is still much to be done to improve the experience of women of colour at work. The report sets out the following specific recommendations for employers:
• minimise bias in recruitment by making job advertisements more inclusive and ensuring the recruitment process is transparent and lacks bias
• minimise bias in career progression by setting fair career path structures and ensuring they are applied consistently across the organisation
• support women of colour in their careers by offering mentorship, training and development
• address and monitor racism within the organisation
Further detail on each of the recommendations is included in the report.
How We Can Help
According to the report, there is clearly much for employers to do in order to improve workplace experiences for women of colour. Effective workplace training on some of the issues raised in the report can be a powerful means of influencing workplace culture. Our in-house HR consultants, Narrow Quay HR, run various workplace training including unconscious bias training and training on avoiding issues caused by ‘banter’ in the workplace. Please do get in touch if you would like to arrange workplace training on these, or any other issues within your organisation.