Breaking the Glass: Understanding the barriers faced by Black Women Professionals in career progression

Thu, 13 May 2021 13:51:00 BST

A team of University Ph.D. researchers are working with She Leads for Legacy, a Manchester-based organisation that aims to raise awareness of, and tackle the barriers, faced by Black professional women in their career progression.

Black women are under-represented in positions of senior leadership. The absence of their voice and presence in these positions means that the decisions shaping corporate culture, and thus the lives of employees, are made by those who often view these women as “other”.

Located at the intersection of multiple social structures, Black women often find themselves in a shifting game of assimilation, conformity and negotiation of stereotypes. Currently, relatively little literature exists on the experiences of this particular group of women. This gap speaks volumes.

The all-female, interdisciplinary research team includes Fernanda Teixeira (Alliance Manchester Business School), Francisca Alvarez-Figueroa (Global Development Institute), Lydia Nelson (School of Arts, Languages and Cultures), and Salwa Alhalafi (The University of Lancaster).

The team is calling for Black women who work in the UK in any sector, in companies of any size, and who are at any stage of their career lifecycle to share their experiences in a short survey.

Their aim is to understand the barriers that Black women face when advancing in their careers, with a particular interest in the challenges encountered at three levels: individual, organisational and social.

The research will be translated into recommendations on how to overcome identified barriers, with view to influence research, policies and policymakers on key aspects around the current barriers to career progression for Black women.

This research project is facilitated by the Collaboration Labs programme at The University of Manchester, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.