Brief

Report: Male allies critical to improving progress for multicultural women at work

Dive Brief:

  • A "powerful alliance" between men in leadership roles and multicultural female employees can pave the way for more diverse companies, a new report from Working Mother reveals.
  • When women feel supported by male leadership, 54% reported better raises, promotions and assignments. But only 39% of multicultural women said dialogue on gender issues was actively encouraged by their employer and only 35% said their companies encourage dialogue on racial issues.
  • While 69% of men feel that coworkers consider talent and ability before gender or race, only 34% of multicultural women felt the same. Another notable statistic: Only 40% of multicultural women felt their company paid men and women equally, compared to 71% of men.

Dive Insight:

"Part of the problem is perception — men don’t realize the extent to which racial and gender bias still hinders multicultural women at work," Subha Barry, SVP and managing director of Working Mother Media, said in a statement. The Working Mother report points to a possible path to addressing some systemic issues that have historically been barriers to improving workplace diversity. 

When women feel that male leaders at their companies care about their advancement, they tend to report higher satisfaction, while women who don't feel supported feel significantly less satisfied with their jobs. As men still predominantly hold leadership positions in almost every industry, men will need to recognize their responsibility in creating leadership pipelines for women of all backgrounds. That also means they must commit to instituting mentoring programs and taking the time to listen to the women at their companies.

Biases still hold women back at work, and the effects are even starker for women of color. Gender stereotypes perpetuate the myth that men make better leaders than women, especially during high-stakes projects, and contribute to pressure on women to keep quiet about any forms of discrimination or harassment they face. For women to truly be able to integrate into companies and help fill talent pipelines (something many industries desperately need), men have to recognize women's experience and support them when they speak out about problems or potential solutions.

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Filed Under: HR Management