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Study Finds Black Women Are Held Back by Discrimination Not Ambition

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A new study confirms what Most black women already knew. We're held back not by our lack of ambition, but because of unfriendly corporate structures that keep us marginalized. Black women are nearly non-existent in top-level positions at the country's largest companies according to a study commissioned by McKinsey and Company and LeanIn.org. This is the second year the study has been compiled.

Women of color, whom the study defines as Black, Asian and Latina, makeup only 3% of those in the C-Suite of the 132 major corporations that were surveyed.
Black women were particularly pessimistic about the level of fairness with their organizations. Only 29 percent said they believed that the most qualified candidates were hired for each job. They are also the most ambitious.

“In our research, we find black women are nearly 3 times more likely than white women to say they aspire to a powerful job with a prestigious title,” Tai Wingfield, one of the report’s authors and senior vice president of communications for the Center for Talent Innovation and managing director at Hewlett Consulting Partner, told The Huffington Post.

“The problem is leadership isn’t seeing them ― those qualified, well educated black women who are vying for leadership but are being overlooked,” Wingfield told HuffPost.
The problem doesn't seem to be getting much better. Ursula Burns will no longer be the CEO of Xerox following a company reorganization this year. When she leaves, there will be no Black women at the head of Fortune 500 companies. 

“This study makes clear that while all women remain underrepresented in the corporate pipeline, women of color face the steepest drop-offs,” LeanIn.org president Rachel Thomas said.

The study features many stories of Black women being discouraged in their professional ambitions.

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