Shocking! 75 per cent of women of colour have experienced racism at work, says study
The damning report also states 64 per cent women of colour feel they are significantly more likely than white women to report being passed over for promotion Photo: iStock
A new research has revealed that 75 per cent of women of colour have experienced racism at work in UK, with 27 per cent having suffered racial slurs.
The report released on Wednesday (25) by the gender equality organisation the Fawcett Society, and the race equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust also said that women of colour are being locked out of reaching their true potential during every stage of their career, from entering work to senior leadership.
The report documented experiences of 2,000 women of colour in workplaces across the UK, of which 61 per cent said that they changed themselves to ‘fit-in’ at work from changing the language or words they use, their hairstyle and even their names.
According to the research, 39 per cent of respondents said that their well-being was impacted by a lack of progression compared to 28 per cent of white women. As many as 43 per cent of women said that denial of promotion led to loss of motivation.
About 28 per cent of women of colour said that manager had blocked their progression at work, compared to 19 per cent of white women, and 42 per cent of women of colour reported being passed over for promotion despite good review.
The women also faced recruitment discrimination as 52 per cent said they were asked for UK qualifications or English as a first language and ethnicity information.
Jemima Olchawksi, CEO, Fawcett Society, has said that it’s’s sickening that three quarters of women of colour have experienced racism at work.
“We just can’t accept this as a society. If we want to be a country where everyone can achieve their potential, to progress and make the most of their talents, then we need serious and concerted action to address this.”
Data also revealed that around half of women of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage and of black African heritage were criticised for behaviours other colleagues get away with at work, compared to 29 per cent of white British women.
Black women of Caribbean heritage, and women of East Asian and Chinese heritage were the least likely to report ‘often’ or ‘always’ feeling comfortable in their workplace culture.
The report further said that 53 per cent of Muslim women changed the clothes they wear at work, compared to 37 per cent of Christian women and 32 per cent of non-religious women.
Dr Halima Begum, CEO, Runnymede Trust, said: “Women of colour face a double jeopardy. From school to the workplace, there are structural barriers standing between them and the opportunities they deserve. Our landmark research exists to support these women to thrive in their workplaces, and to challenge employers to harness the talents, skills and experiences of their employees, or risk losing them.”
The report has urged the government to set-up and back a business-led initiative to tackle ethnicity and gender pay gaps and accelerate change on progression and representation. It also demanded to legislate to ban salary history questions and require salaries to be published on job advertisements.
According to the research, employers should implement effective, evidence based anti-racism action plans with clear and measurable targets, and regular monitoring and evaluation of progress.
It also appealed to have a car and transparent processes for reporting racism and set structures that ensure line managers deliver equitable and fair promotion outcomes for all employees.