The correct answer is four percent. So, in corporate America, while women constitute about 30% of the personnel in management, African-American women are only one eighth of that 30% total. Or to put it another way: in a more fair world, since black women collectively form 7.4% of the U.S. population, that four percent should be twice as large. You might ask “What are the percentages for other women of color?” The answer is 4.3% for Latinas, and 2.5% for Asian women. No wonder my eloquent guests on this episode refer to the situation women are facing as—not a glass wall—but a concrete wall! Remember Ronald Reagan telling the Soviets to “tear down that wall”? Just like the Berlin Wall, this issue is a matter of justice and liberty, too. To rectify the situation, more compelling steps must be undertaken than mere lectures about the need for greater diversity. For instance, Ella Bell Smith mentions that at Dartmouth’s Tuck School where she teaches, they’re about to take executive groups on an immersive experiential journey: visiting the anti-lynching museum in Alabama. Of all the interviews I’ve taped, this is one of my favorites.
Released today: episode #68 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ella Bell Smith and Stella M. Nkomo discussing Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.
Ella Bell Smith is a professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business. She’s also the founder and president of ASCENT: Leading Multicultural Women to the Top. Stella M. Nkomo is a professor in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Pretoria. She was the founding president of the Africa Academy of Management.