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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why Aren't More Black Women Getting Promoted?

By Jennifer Millman

© DiversityInc 2007 ® All rights reserved. No article on this site can be reproduced by any means, print, electronic or any other, without prior written permission of the publisher.

Date Posted: July 27, 2007

Black women aspire to corporate leadership, but they don't feel that hard work and a positive outlook will pay off, finds a new League of Black Women survey. Many feel persistent stereotypes are stifling their talent and potential, and poor utilization of their skill sets and education relegates them to dead-end jobs, which leads to lower engagement and fewer meaningful connections at work.

A few highlights from the survey of black women:

Nearly 80 percent think racial attitudes diminish their ability to be effective leaders Only 57 percent feel they can reach their potential in spite of these barriers Only 20 percent are "very satisfied" with their overall lives, which is based on the quality of their personal and professional relationships, especially with each other, having black-female executive role models and opportunities for career development Sixty-two percent say they give more of themselves at work when they feel valued for who they are, which many feel doesn't happen often enough.

Recent data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission underscores these concerns. Black women remain woefully underrepresented in corporate America, particularly at the management level. They account for 16 percent of the female private-industry work force�more than Latinas or Asian women�but just 9 percent of officials and managers, the lowest ratio of work force to management of all women of color.

By comparison, 24 percent of the female work forces among the Top 10 Companies for African Americans are black, compared with 19 percent of The 2007 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®. Eighteen percent of the women promoted in management are black, compared with 13 percent for the Top 50.

The national survey, conducted in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton from 2005 to 2007, identifies proactive ways companies can increase retention among black women by providing advancement and networking opportunities and promoting authenticity.

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