Are you going to be an Ally for Black Women in the Workplace?

Black women are making great advancements in the workplace. This tells me that options are becoming available to women that are dedicated to pursuing their dreams.

Yet we’re seeing a varied amount of black female leaders demonstrating that the road to success is diverse and riddled with challenges. Despite efforts being made by companies to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, it is still evident that the black South African women are still underrepresented in top managerial levels in private sector.

If employers are not cognisant of  – or choose to ignore  – these obvious gaps,  it would seem that they are hanging on to outdated corporate cultures and structures. Structures and cultures that aren’t built on representation and inclusion. This will continue to create barriers for black South African women and how they experience the workplace and how they approach their jobs.

Research has it that experiences shape an individual’s ability to trust others and to build more productive and effective teams. People who feel seen and made to feel like they belong are more likely to make a deeper contribution and feel more engaged. Diversity and inclusion aren’t just activities and strategies that are nice to have. They contribute significantly to an organisation’s performance and retention of talent.

My two cents? If organisations really want to help black women feel seen, heard and safe, they need to make the effort to listen, learn, and demonstrate real allyship.  This needs to include meaningful changes like including black women in workplace planning and hiring processes, as well designed mentorship opportunities for black women can really make a difference.

By Luyanda Dlamini

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