Ella L. J. Bell Smith and Stella M. Nkomo, Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity (Harvard Business Press, 2021)
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.
A “glass ceiling” that holds women back from attaining the top levels of management within a company is a familiar term. But how about a “cement wall”? That’s how these two authors describe the struggle that confronts women of color and often African-American women particularly as they try to rise through the ranks. What black women must deal with is often a lack of both visibility and authority. This episode explores why it is that so little progress has been made so far in the 21st century. While white female professionals now occupy about 1/3rd of all management roles (still not enough), black women’s share amounts to 4%. How can diversity be realized more organically, rather than through a series of lectures that likely won’t “move the needle”? Listen to this episode to find out.
Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of nine books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. (https://www.sensorylogic.com). His new book is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Politics. To check out his related “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” blog, visit https://emotionswizard.com.