Tag Archives: women

Diversity Making Little Progress in the Business World

24 Jun
workplace segregation

Despite everything, many workplaces are still segregated by gender and race.
Image: Shutterstock

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently published a study tracking the segregation of women and minorities in the workplace.  Even though you have most likely been through a diversity training in the last six months, you may find that your co-working population looks a lot like you.  It turns out that equal opportunity has stalled for thirty years.  After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, government and social pressure on firms to reduce segregation created more equal opportunity for minorities, most significantly for white women.  However, the levels of jobs where women and blacks work side by side with white males has leveled out, and in some cases lowered, since the 1990s.

workplace diversity

Only 1 in 6 private businesses hold managers accountable for professional development of minorities.
Image: Shutterstock

For example, over 70% of black women in the workforce today would need to switch careers in order to have an even representation in all major occupational fields.  This is down only about 10% from 1970, and the line has been nearly flat since 2000.  Black males have been sitting on a 50% segregation rate for thirty years, and while white women’s segregation has come down the most significantly, it has tapered off in the last decade.  The study concluded that the reasoning for these results has been from a shift from accountability and outspoken public opinion to trainings and vague policies built into the company handbook.  HBR found that today, only about 1 in 6 private businesses actually hold managers accountable for professional development of minorities.

This study may prove valuable evidence to the decisions on affirmative action currently being weighed in the Supreme Court.  Many people believe we should end the practice of requiring a certain percentage of minorities to be chosen for university programs or jobs.  While affirmative action is slightly different than equal opportunity, the decision could affect how people feel about progressing underrepresented groups in the workplace.  The data shows that something needs to change, but perhaps the programs need innovation to integrate our workforce into a true reflection of our population.

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Warren Buffett Says Women Are Key To Economic Prosperity

6 May

Warren Buffett has written an essay for Fortune magazine, to be published later this month, that discusses women—and how they are essential to economic prosperity in America. Buffett echoes the sentiments of many women through the years that have pushed for women to be given more opportunities within the business industry.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett says women are America’s key to economic prosperity.
Image: Fortune Live Media / Flickr CC

Buffett starts out his essay discussing the enormous success of America since it won independence in 1776. “Our secret sauce has been a political and economic system that unleashes human potential to an extraordinary degree. As a result Americans today enjoy an abundance of goods and services that no one could have dreamed of just a few centuries ago.”

And he’s absolutely right. When we look back at just how far our country has progressed in the last two hundred and fifty years, it’s pretty amazing. The rest of the world has also progressed, yes, but no one will argue that the United States are now one of the world’s top powers.

“America has forged this success while utilizing, in large part, only half the country’s talent. For most of our history, women—whatever their abilities—have been relegated to the sidelines. Only in recent years have we begun to correct that problem.”

Buffett goes on to discuss the struggles women have endured over the years just to gain the same basic rights—voting, working, getting highly educated—as men. He recalls how our history is filled with powerful men who stood against those changes—men who ended up on the wrong side of history when all was said and done.

Perhaps most poignant of all is when Mr. Buffett recalls how he was treated differently from the moment he was born. He had all the opportunities in the world simply because he was a boy, whereas his sisters had only the hope of marrying well simply because they were girls. His baseline was as far as they would ever get, despite the fact that they were equally as smart, personable, and capable as he.

Buffett’s essay calls for both men and women to recognize and capitalize on the potential that women bring to this country as entrepreneurs and leaders. He urges us to become free from the societal restraints we’ve placed on ourselves and move forward into a new era—one that is ethically and economically prosperous.

Prominent Hispanic Women

24 Jan

Seeing women rise to power and become prominent figures in society is something we love. When those women are from minority groups, we love it even more. Hispanic women have made some sizeable contributions to U.S. history, especially as of late. Here are a few prominent Hispanic women that have made a name for themselves and changed the country for the better:

 

  1. Actress/Singer: Chita Rivera was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009. She also gained acclaim for her role as Anita in the Broadway production of “West Side Story.” Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan have also made their way to celebrity.
  2. Author: Sandra Cisneros is a name most have heard by now. Cisneros is both a poet and a novelist and incorporates her Mexican-American heritage into her work. She is most well known for her book, The House on Mango Street.
  3. Political Activist: Dolores Huerta worked a s a labor leader and social activist, helping to organize the five-year boycott on California’s table grapes in order to gain collective bargaining rights. She also helped found the United Farm Workers (UWF). Margarita Lopez of NYCHA also has a history of activism, participating in every cause from LGBT rights to supporting abused women, environmentalism and homelessness.
  4. Supreme Court Justice: Sonia Sotomayer served at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York before being promoted to her next role: Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. She was the first Hispanic woman to hold the honor.
  5. Journalist: An activist in her own right, Soledad Pena helped organize the League of Mexican American feminists in Lardo, Texas (“La Liga Femenil Mexicanistas”). The group pushed for equal education for women and helped to organize schools for Chicano children.
  6. Astronaut: Ellen Ochoa has logged over 40 days in space. The first Hispanic woman to become an astronaut, she went on four space flights before retiring from her career as an astronaut. She is currently the director of Johnson Space Center.