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Double Jeopardy March 18, 2007

Posted by Winter in race matters, work.
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From the Guardian:

Black and Asian women are facing significantly greater employment barriers than white women and are “missing” from almost one third of workplaces even in areas with high ethnic minority populations, according to a new report.

A study published today by the Equal Opportunities Commission finds that Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black Caribbean women find it harder than white counterparts to get a job or win promotion, and are more likely to be segregated in certain types of work despite having good qualifications. Such barriers are to blame rather than family or cultural resistance to women working, the report says.

Never mind getting onto the board of directors, women from black, minority and ethnic communities may not even be able to get a job in the first place. Looking back at my own employment history, I’ve worked in 3 all white offices. My current employer does employ quite a lot of black women, but that’s really because black women are one of our client groups, so again the black women workers are relegated to certain areas. The only employer I’ve worked for that did employ a lot of BME women was the retailer Marks & Spencer. Telling, no? I think that last point about culture and family is important because if you raise this issue, you often get responses along the lines of “Well, their families don’t let them work” or “In their culture women probably just get married and stay at home.” I’ve had a white man tell me that asian women hardly ever go out; they just stay at home being oppressed by their men. This is a marvellous excuse for not challenging the racist oppression that keeps BME women out of the workplace, or segregated in certain kinds of work.

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Comments»

1. Louisefeminista - March 19, 2007

I remember hearing a case a couple of years ago about racism at a certain high street fashion store (Black employees accessing legal advice about their rights). The manager (white)patronised and bullied the Black members of staff. Management would humiliate them in front of customers and they were told they would not be “promoted because they were Black”…….

I really really hope this trendy high street fashion store got screwed at an employment tribunal and exposed as blatant racists.

I hope the Black members of staff got justice in the end.

I have to say that report doesn’t surprise me in the least….

2. Winter - March 19, 2007

the racism flying around the office was just incredible

I had a similar experience working for the County Council. Coming from rather a protected liberal background, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. There was no way a person of colour would have been employed there. They had a group panic attack when presented with an asian temp, although they calmed down marginally when they found out his mother was white.

When I was at M&S one of the women working on the tills was a qualified photographer from Iran.


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