Mak­ing Room at the Top

We sur­veyed com­pa­nies about the real chal­lenges still hold­ing women back, and then asked ex­perts in di­ver­sity lead­er­ship for pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.

Working Mother - - 2018 Best Companies For - by bar­bara frankel

Com­pa­nies on Work­ing Mother’s 2018 25 Best Com­pa­nies for Mul­ti­cul­tural Women list have more women of color in the work­force and se­nior po­si­tions than na­tional av­er­ages. Their progress is note­wor­thy, but it isn’t good enough. What can we learn from the best prac­tices they use to find, re­tain and pro­mote women of color? How do di­ver­sity ex­perts ad­vo­cate they break the log­jam?

There are some dif­fer­ences in which ini­tia­tives are most ef­fec­tive for which groups of mul­ti­cul­tural women. We know this be­cause for the first time in its 16-year his­tory, the sur­vey asked com­pa­nies for data by Cen­sus Bureau cat­e­gories of race/ eth­nic­ity. In the fu­ture, we hope to cover mul­ti­cul­tural women by racial/eth­nic groups in more de­tail. Here we chose to dis­cuss the three largest groups—His­panic, African-Amer­i­can and Asian. The other three cen­sus des­ig­na­tions—Hawai­ian/ Pa­cific Is­lan­der, Na­tive Amer­i­can/Alaska Na­tive, and two or more races—are less than 2 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.


The sur­vey data shows mul­ti­cul­tural women com­prise 23 per­cent of the work­force of the

25 Best Com­pa­nies, which ex­ceeds their rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the U.S. work­force (19 per­cent), ac­cord­ing to U.S. Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion (EEOC) data. The Bureau of La­bor Statis­tics pre­dicts that be­tween 2014 and 2024, the per­cent­ages of His­panic women, Asian-Amer­i­can women and African-Amer­i­can women in the la­bor force will increase by 30 per­cent, 24 per­cent and 11 per­cent, re­spec­tively. The per­cent­age of white women in the la­bor force will de­cline by 2 per­cent.

But this isn’t trans­lat­ing into enough po­si­tions at the top. At the 25 Best Com­pa­nies, they are 9 per­cent of se­nior man­agers ver­sus 5 per­cent nationally (EEOC), and 8 per­cent of boards of direc­tors ver­sus 4 per­cent nationally (Al­liance for Board Di­ver­sity, Cat­a­lyst). There cur­rently are no mul­ti­cul­tural women CEOs at our Best Com­pa­nies and none in the For­tune 500.


Let’s look at two ini­tia­tives help­ing the Best Com­pa­nies find and pro­mote mul­ti­cul­tural women— and ways they can be pro­duce bet­ter re­sults.

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