Several recent studies reveal that women of color still face many challenges in obtaining high-level corporate jobs. The reports were released by Catalyst, a non-profit group that focuses on women in business.
“Advancing Asian Women in the Workplace: What Managers Need to Know” found that though Asian-American women are the most likely to have graduate education, they are least likely to hold high management or corporate positions, compared to other groups of women. A similar study on Latina women was released earlier this summer. The two studies revealed that although Asian-American and Latina women are the fastest-growing groups in the US labor force, they each make up less than 30 of the more than 10,000 officers in Fortune 500 companies, according to Mercury News. Both groups of women report feeling discriminated against by their employers. Asian-American women said that they were often bypassed by their companies’ diversity programs because they are seen as “overachievers,” while Latina women reported that their accents led their employers to believe that they are less ambitious and competent, the Mercury News reports. The study on Latina women also found that a lack of understanding by their employers of their cultural background made it more difficult for Latina women to develop the kinds of relationships necessary to get ahead in the corporate world.
A recent study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirmed Catalyst’s findings. The EEOC study found that although women of color were making gains in overall numbers in the private sector, they are still a very small percentage of managers.