And while women of color are in retreat, losing their economic empowerment, these problems can be difficult to reverse.
“It’s deeply disturbing,” says Hephzi Pemberton, founder of Equality Group, a London-based consultancy that focuses on inclusion and diversity in the finance and tech industry. She says these effects are particularly concerning because the losses associated with being underpaid relative to another demographic group accumulate and increase over time. “As a result, women of color are less able to build savings, weather economic downturns, and achieve economic stability. It is often the same women who care for others and support many community activities.
This potentially growing gap may also have wide-ranging implications, adds Pemberton. “It’s not just a profound loss for the workplace – it ends up having a big impact on society at large,” she says. “When we invest in women of color, we support entire families and communities. We must appreciate the disproportionate impact that reversing this gap can have on our economy and our society.
“An extended diversity penalty”
Experts agree that employers must bear the bulk of the responsibility for ensuring that women of color are not left even further behind their peers in the workplace.
As a first step, Pemberton says companies can start to take action by understanding the extent of these conditions and collecting more nuanced data around them. Payroll reports, she says, can be a helpful resource for assessing and recognizing the amount of work that needs to be done. Some countries, such as the UK, make the annual report on the gender pay gap mandatory for organizations of a certain size, but does not require companies to break down compensation data by gender into categories that include race, for example. According to some experts, this could be a way to highlight the seriousness and urgency of the problem.
Going forward, it is important for companies to also recognize that several factors are exacerbating pay gap issues, especially under current conditions. “As the people with the power to implement change at a higher level, the responsibility rests with employers and managers to recognize, address and remedy all racial and gender pay gaps,” Opie agrees. , from Babson. “Employers need to examine the role of intersectionality in pay gaps and ensure that employees are compensated fairly,” she says.