What female executives of color want you to know

Professional women of color face unique challenges in the workplace that can take a toll on their mental well-being, according to a report in Harvard Business Review published Jan. 14. 

Using data from more than 1,000 interviews with female executives of color and 20 years of research on gender and negotiation, researchers specializing in women's leadership collated key challenges women of color face in the workplace.

Some women of color interviewed by the researchers describe feeling discouraged from asking for what they want in the workplace. Black women reported feeling stereotyped as angry or aggressive when expressing healthy self-esteem. Asian women reported a cultural reverence for authority, and immigrant Latinas reported being cautioned not to rock the boat. 

Some women of color also said strategies shared by white women do not work for them. Intersectional research conducted by Harvard Business Review suggested women of color stand out as exceptions in their respective businesses but are nonetheless marginalized.

Women of color also told researchers they are often asked to take on responsibilities that are not related directly to their role, such as diversity, equity and inclusion tasks. Given that many powerful women of color are among the minorities in their organizations, much of the mentoring and sponsoring responsibilities fall on them as well. 

Read the full report on negotiation here.

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