#Next20: Black women tackle challenges inside and outside corporate America

Justin Chan
·2 min read

While women — in general — face tremendous roadblocks in moving up the corporate ladder in the U.S., Black women, in particular, experience seemingly insurmountable challenges that require immediate attention. According to a 2020 report from CNBC, for instance, 37 women led Fortune 500 companies that year but none were Black or Latina. And of the number of women who were in C-suite in 2020, just 1 percent were Black.

The statistics highlight a troubling trend in which Black women have consistently been passed over for deserving positions — in business and beyond. Not only do the numbers confirm that racism and sexism are largely at play when Black women and other women of color work in corporate America, they highlight a huge gap in the senior-level opportunities that white men and women receive compared to their Black counterparts. The fact is that while companies and boardrooms, as a whole, have added more Black employees, not many seem to believe that Black workers are qualified to be executives.

This is particularly concerning when one considers the fact that, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, nearly all of the 50 largest companies that USA Today reviewed released statements in support of the Black community but almost all of those businesses failed to diversify their leadership to reflect their commitment to Black people. It appears then that there is a dire need for corporate America (and those outside of it) to follow through on words with action — especially as the latter pertains to Black women.

In the latest episode of Verizon’s #Next20 series, Yahoo’s Brittany Jones-Cooper joins Angela Rye, CEO of political advocacy firm IMPACT Strategies, and Sheri Reynard, an executive coach at fassforward Consulting Group, to talk exactly this, while touching on the intersection of race, social justice, business and technology. To learn more, watch the clip above.

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If you liked this story, check out this #Next20 episode on the role athletes play in pushing for social justice.

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