DCA report scathing on workplace diversity
7 March 2023 at 5:00 am
Culturally and racially marginalised women feel they have to “act white” and are assumed to be working in more junior jobs than they are, according to new research.
Two thirds of culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) women feel they have to “act white” to get ahead in their careers, according to new research from Diversity Council of Australia (DCA).
DCA conducted surveys and focus groups with over 370 women and also found that 75 per cent of them had experienced others assuming they worked in a lower status job than they did and treating them accordingly.
The report – entitled Culturally and racially marginalised women in leadership: A framework for (intersectional) organisational action – also found 85 per cent felt they had to work twice as hard as employees who weren’t CARM women to get the same treatment or evaluation
“On International Women’s Day, we often talk about women at work but too often miss the voices of women whose lived experience has been marginalised, as a result of their social class, their sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, their identity as a First Nations woman or because they are from a racially or culturally marginalised group,” said DCA CEO Lisa Annese.
“Often, inadvertently, workplace gender equity initiatives fail to consider the different life experiences and needs of women – and so end up improving gender equity mainly for white, middle class, able-bodied, heterosexual, cisgendered women.”
DCA also acknowledged that in the research it is moving away from the term “culturally and linguistically diverse”, instead using CARM, which it says recognises race and racism in the lives of the participants.
“We also know that if we want to effectively address issues of racism in workplaces, we have to use language that specifically addresses it,” she said.
“These findings and our recommendations offer a great opportunity for employers across our country and economy to check how they are embracing and including all women and how we can be better – for the benefit of all.”