For Women of Color to Get Ahead, Employers Must Allocate Work Fairly

by Xara Aziz
Tired African American young woman takes a break from work on computer at home office, does exercise and stretching hands up. Black student girl wants to sleep after a long work at pc late at night

An old study has resurfaced after the term “quiet quitting” has begun trending on social media, and as new data reveals, Black women are beginning to rethink whether it’s worth staying at their jobs.

In 2018, Harvard Business Review (HBR) revealed that women of color bore the brunt of extra labor at work and were more likely assigned to do “housework” while more glamourous work was assigned to white men (i.e.: work that receives recognition from higher-ups and leads to promotions).

Black women are also more likely to burnout, and feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health than their white counterparts,” the study further detailed. It’s part of what is leading to a new phenomenon called “quiet quitting,” a term used to describe “rejecting the notion that work has to take over one’s life and that employees should go above and beyond what their job descriptions entail.”

In 2020, the Working Mother Research Institute reported that 52% of Black women were debating parting ways with their companies in two years to start their own. “So often Black women are entrepreneurs out of necessity. It’s interesting that Black women are really stepping up at this point, particularly during this time of economic uncertainty, because we’ve always had to navigate economic uncertainty,” Ayris Scales, managing director of Walker’s Legacy told The Guardian. “We now have women saying if I can do this for Tom, Dick and Harry, then I can take a chance and do this for myself,” Scale says. “So, we see more women saying I want to choose a different path and different type of lifestyle that is more authentic with where I feel I should be.”

But for women who are quiet quitting, Tayo Bero, a columnist at The Guardian, says it could mean losing “many of the things that can make a workplace enriching in the first place; organizing socials, remembering people’s birthdays, bringing in treats on special occasions.”

 She added: “Still, people shouldn’t be doing more work than they have to. And just doing the work that you’re paid for should be the standard, not an act of mutiny.”

HBR gives this piece of advice to employers who are looking to retain their talent: “[Managers must] try some new techniques, starting with making systemic changes to the ways businesses are run. These don’t have to be big changes — in fact, even small tweaks to your basic systems (hiring, promotions, compensation) can lead to big changes.”

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