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The Opportunity Gap In Leadership For Women Of Color

Last Updated on 07 June, 2021

Just 1% of Fortune 500 CEOs were black, 2% were Asian, 2% were Latino, and 5% were women in 2020, according to reports. Fast forward to today, Rosalind Brewer was appointed CEO of Walgreens on March 15, 2021, making her the only Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation at the time. So, while women of color have one foot through the door, there's still a lot of work to be done.

This podcast with Cynthia Pong discusses the opportunity gap in leadership for women of color. Cynthia talks about the obstacles that women of color experience in achieving and performing in leadership roles in the workplace. You will know know about the challenges that women of color face, focusing on the intersections of gender and race and how these affect leadership.

Cynthia Pong is an award-winning career strategist, speaker, and author of Don't Stay in Your Lane: The Career Change Guide for Women of Color. An NYU-trained lawyer turned career coach, she's on a mission to get women of color the money, power, and respect that they deserve. Her career advice has been featured in NPR, HuffPost, CNBC, and more, and she is a LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search and Career. Cynthia is a proud introvert, a classic middle child, and an unapologetic Rottweiler enthusiast.

Connect with Cynthia on Linkedin

Read our blog on: The Challenges Faced By Women in The Workplace

Show Notes:

(00:37) Could you please begin by introducing yourself to our audience?

(01:15) What do you think led to this disparity, and how does this lack of representation of women of color affect the careers and perspective of those just getting started in the workforce?

(04:40) We also hear how important it is to bring your true self to work every day. Do you believe that women of color, in particular, have difficulty doing so? Do you believe that women of color feel unable to speak up about any bias or inequality they might be experiencing? If so, what are the reasons for this and what other obstacles do they face?

Read our blog on: 5 Advantages of Practicing Equal Employment Opportunity

(17:18) What actions should they take to address these issues? What can employees do to confront their bosses on this and gain trust in raising their voices against an unconscious or deliberate oppression?

(09:20) The old saying that people of color must be twice as good to get half as far rang truer than ever when we see these numbers-

  • Just 68 Latinas and 58 Black women are promoted to manager for every 100 entry-level white men, as per a LeanIn.org and McKinsey report.
  • According to a Harvard Business Review study, 76 percent of Latinas and 80 percent of Black women want to be promoted.
  • Another McKinsey (makinjee) report recently revealed that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, women of color were more likely to be laid off or furloughed.
  • Kamala Harris's skin was 'lightened' by a magazine for a cover.

These statistics show that women of color face many obstacles when seeking advancement in their careers and are also undervalued as contributors to business success. What steps can be taken right now to address these issues?

(13:05) With the global pandemic and the growing momentum for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, it appears that the world is increasingly recognizing that significant collective work is needed if we are to see true social change in our lifetimes. Do you believe real change is on the way? What are your expectations about how we can recover from this moment?

Read our blog on: How Gender Pay Gap Affects Your Business

(15:55) Many of us have realized the role of women of color leadership in the development of social justice movements over the years. People want to rally behind women of color and follow their example. What action or show of support do you believe is most important for achieving equality in leadership across sectors?

(18:15) What is one piece of career advice you would offer to today's listeners?

(20:42) How can our listeners reach out to you?