Women report stunning levels of discrimination

Half of the women from marginalized racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. and four other countries said they have experienced racism or discrimination at their current workplace. 

Three years after many global CEOs pledged to fight racism following the 2020 murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, a new report from Catalyst reveals that half of the women from marginalized racial and ethnic groups experience racism at work.

The report found that 51 percent of women surveyed across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and South Africa face discrimination at work. 

The survey’s stark results come at a time when some companies are pulling back on certain efforts around diversity and inclusion. 

The report found that women with darker skin tones, as well as queer (63%) and transgender (67%) women, are particularly likely to experience racism at work, compared with cisgender heterosexual women (49%). A quarter (25%) also believe that senior leaders in their organization would discriminate against an employee based on their ethnicity, race, or culture.

Catalyst is a women’s advocacy group. The survey asked a yes or no question: “Have you experienced racism or discrimination because of your ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion in your current workplace?”

“We really wanted to push the conversation on racism further, and highlight the intersectional nature of racism,” said Kathrina Robotham, Ph.D., a senior associate at Catalyst and one of the study’s co-authors.

“These findings show that racism is an ongoing and pervasive part of the workplace experience for women from marginalized racial and ethnic groups,” said Robotham. 

The data show that an organization’s “climate of silence”, which is when employees do not feel safe or are discouraged from speaking up about work-related problems or concerns, is linked to an increased likelihood of experiencing racism at work. 

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