The Glass Ceiling for Diverse Women

by Katherine Griffin

Women of color are more likely than Caucasian women to want to be a C-suite executive—yet are much less likely to reach that goal.

That’s one of several discouraging findings from a 2016 LeanIn.org/McKinsey & Co. report on women in the workforce. The research is based on data from 132 companies employing more than 4.6 million people, as well as on a survey of 34,000 employees.

Forty-eight percent of women of color surveyed said they aspire to be a top executive, compared with 37 percent of Caucasian women. But the study found that women of color are the least represented at the leadership level, making up just 3 percent of C-suite executives.

What’s more, women of color were 10 percent less likely than Caucasian women to say they feel comfortable being themselves at work. And while 78 percent of companies said gender diversity was a top priority, just over half expressed the same commitment to racial diversity.

To improve matters, the authors say, companies need to look for ways to reduce bias in hiring, promotion and performance evaluation, by using proven techniques such as blind résumé reviews and applying bias training to hiring and performance reviews.

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