What are your views on black people and black women representation in a workplace? Do you feel that being black or being a black woman in your establishment will be a factor in your career progression?
These were just the couple of questions my “blog sister” Margaret asked 5 black women (Tanimola, Victoria, Moyosola, Yemi and Maggie) for her Moments With M blog. The posts were indeed an innovative and unique way to demonstrate the different views and experiences of black women as minorities in a workplace which has encouraged me to write on my own views and experience on this matter and touch on those few questions in line with some of the questions Margaret came up with.
As a lady with a pharmaceutical / science background, I have been opportune to work in three cooperate environment since graduating (in two thousand and “X”) where the number of ethnic colleagues in each setting have varied. Working from an establishment where I was surrounded by various ethnicity (especially African and Caribbean), to a company where I initially found myself to be the only black (with Polish, Spanish and Portuguese), to now a company where I am the only black in my department but has sprinkles of different ethnicity – literally touching the four corners of the earth.
One thing that I have consistently aimed to achieve in each of my job roles is to make an impact in such a way that when I leave the role my impact is still reminisced. In my first two job roles, I worked hard! I worked smart! My proactive approach did most of the talking (and of course divine favour). However, I found that my the second job role as a Product Analysis Scientist needed more of me, more of my time, more of my effort – It needed me to put myself out there. To advertise the degree(s) I obtained verbally, really wasn’t going to move me left or right …let alone up.
I had to treat this job like another qualification with a criteria being either a PASS or FAIL for people to take note of my efforts and open me up to more opportunities. During this process – I learnt that I have had to collaborate (and find ways to help) with colleagues outside my own department(s) in each workplace.
After all, it’s not only what you know but also who you know, right?
It is a good way to make yourself known across the company because you never really know where those colleagues might lead you in the future – well for me anyway. *Looks at recent goodbye presents and feeling blessed*.
Margaret asks: Working in XYZ do you feel that minorities, especially black people and black females are represented fairly?
I found this to be an interesting question. Maggie C hit the nail on the head by mentioning
“it may be due to the area I live or have worked in in which there are very few ethnic minorities”
From a scientist point of view, there are not many scientific job roles (industrial scientific roles) out there in London where it is multicultural and reflects on whose hired. If we compare this to somewhere like Sittingbourne (Kent…deep Kent) where the residents are predominantly categorised as non-ethnics – in most cases, it does reflect the lack of diversity in regards to the employees present.
But this point raises the question – how many of us black minorities are applying for jobs in areas outside our familiar surroundings/zones ie London and other counties populated with black people?
In my opinion – only a very few. Maybe this could be a starting point of having more black people and black females fairly represented.
I think I will use the above to encourage black women who especially want to go into the scientific/pharma industry BUT it does relate to other professions too. The 5 beautiful ladies interviewed by Margaret have also added their own encouragement tip.
Margaret did a brilliant job into giving us an insight on a black women’s experience in a workplace as a minority. I would love to have equally gain insight on how BLACK MEN and know their experience in their workplace as a minority, someone tag me when they have done the interviews pleaseJ.
In the meantime, I will leave my favourite quotes from the ladies responses to the questions asked by Margaret and add their profiles at the end of this post. 🙂
We hear it so often “behind every great man there is a great woman” aim to be the great woman beside him or at least make the steps to help the black woman behind you to move that step closer to beside that great man.- MOYO
Many people will want to disregard your effort but as long as you are competent in your skills and knowledge, you have nothing to worry about – if you do not know what you are doing SPEAK UP! – YEMI
Below click on the following profiles below to check:
Typing to you soon – I hope you are all well.