Numerous reports have highlighted the stress faced by working women due to the epidemic and the negative impact it has had on women’s well-being and career aspirations.
While employers are forced to embrace a more inclusive workplace culture to advance gender equality, women of color face additional obstacles when it comes to both sexism and racism – as well as the interplay between this kind of inequality at work.
A Broken Ladders report released by The Fawcett Society in the United Kingdom last month revealed that 76% of women of color experience racism in the workplace negatively affecting their confidence in work. Additionally, 61% of women of color report that they change to ‘fit in’; It’s about changing the way they talk, how they wear or style their hair, and sometimes even change their name.
Overall, 42% of white women report being sent for promotion compared to 27% of white women. Additionally, 28% of women of color report restricting their progress at work compared to 19% of white women.
Surprisingly, 39% of women of color reported experiencing negative psychological and emotional well-being at work.
The report found that three-quarters of white employees consider themselves allies to women of color, with less than half of these white allies speaking out against bias or supporting women of color with their progress. There is clearly a disconnect between the actions white employees believe they are taking to tackle gender racism and what behaviors they actually engage in.
To reduce this gap, mental health activist, speaker and entrepreneur Misha T Hill launched the Check Your Privilege movement on Instagram. Her job is to help all individuals understand how to move beyond becoming an ally and becoming a co-conspirator by making racism a daily practice.
Here, Hill shares three steps anyone can take to become co-conspirators at work.
Check your specialty
According to Hill, leaders, in particular, need to take responsibility for creating change within their organization, and it begins with engaging in self-reflection. For example, when leaders see how empowerment and privilege give them access to being part of a powerful group, they are also aware of their unique position to dismantle the inequality they benefit from.
“I encourage leaders to look at their personal journey and how they uphold systemic oppression and bias in their personal lives and their role at work. It is not an issue that can be corrected in a meeting. It is an ongoing lifelong journey because in the world systems are replicated in the same way. It is copied in the workplace. “
These challenges are not something that privileged people often face because privilege makes it easier to deny other people’s experiences of inequality. Hill believes that leaders must take the time to reflect on their privileges, recognize their biases and discriminatory beliefs before tackling these challenges within the broader organization.
Hill believes we need to be co-conspirators to create systemic change. To become a co-conspirator requires building relationships across differences and focusing on colored voices to guide and facilitate cultural change at work.
“It’s not afraid to talk because we see what happens in the workplace and nobody wants to talk. When you see hurt, say something, but before you say anything, you have to go to a colleague. ? Are you ready to talk? ‘ Be really curious about the damaged person and their experience before speaking.
According to Hill, change often requires trusting leaders of underrepresented groups to advance the work and then demonstrate support by implementing their recommendations.
Get comfortable with the inconvenience
Fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and being called racist or sexist can prevent people from dealing with these issues, so they will remain forever. This is usually due to concerns about cancellation culture and fear of calling. However, Hill argues that getting it wrong provides an opportunity to learn and figure out how to get it right.
“Get it wrong and get it wrong because that’s the only way you learn. There is no right or wrong way. You have to move through fear and shame. For many white people, there is this shame, ‘Oh God, I am a racist, and you are not racist, you are racist and biased.’ You have to learn.“
Hill says that to become a co-conspirator, we must face ourselves and our misdeeds and look to others to hold us accountable.