A message from Paradigm for Parity CEO, Sandra Quince during Black History Month
This February, Paradigm for Parity celebrated Black History Month by highlighting the barriers Black women face both in and out of the workplace. As a Black woman who has worked in finance, diversity, equity, and inclusion for the majority of my career, I’ve seen firsthand how intentional equity efforts can transform the lives of marginalized employees.
According to a 2022 McKinsey study, Black women are least likely to have senior-level contact, which is detrimental especially when we look at the importance of mentorship and sponsorship to achieving equity. The study also showed that compared with women of other races and ethnicities, Black women face more systemic barriers, receive less support from managers, and experience more acute discrimination.
I had the opportunity earlier this month to speak to Business Insider in their Equity Talk series on the progress we have made, but also how much further we have to go. There are reports that say we are around 136 years until gender parity. That’s absurd. When I hear statistics like these, I am challenged to do more and defy those odds. We are focused on achieving gender parity in corporate leadership in 15 years. Between the Paradigm for Parity Coalition 5-point action plan and the Women in The Workplace McKinsey Study, we have the tools we need to continue to march onward. Below are three actions companies can take to help support women of color in their offices:
1. Minimize or eliminate unconscious bias: Initiate unconscious bias training at all levels. Company leaders need to comprehend, own and address the conscious and unconscious biases that prevent Black women from excelling in the workplace. There are two equally important parts of this: making it clear that disrespectful behavior won’t be tolerated and taking proactive steps to make sure that Black women feel valued and welcome.
2. Identify women of potential and give them sponsors, as well as mentors: Black women, specifically, have issues finding sponsorship due to a lack of representation in the c-suite.
3. Foster a culture that supports and values Black women: Companies need to foster a culture in which Black women and other traditionally marginalized employees feel like they belong. The more that companies take into account the unique perspectives and experiences of different groups of employees, the more effectively they can create an inclusive culture.
Our coalition is made up of over 144 companies across industries who have pledged to implement our 5-point plan in an effort to achieve parity in the workplace. I’m proud to lead a coalition committed to gender equity in corporate leadership for women of all races, cultures, and backgrounds.
About Paradigm for Parity®
Paradigm for Parity® is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap. The coalition is made up of CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members, and business academics who are committed to achieving a new norm in the corporate world: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity. The ultimate goal is to achieve full gender parity by 2030, with a near-term goal of women holding at least 30% of senior roles.