Challenges and Opportunities
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis
Chapter 12: Best practices for women of color in corporate America
Katherine Giscombe1 INTRODUCTION Women of color in the United States – African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American – are moving into the labor force in greater numbers, as the country’s population becomes more diverse. For example, the presence of Asian-American women in the labor force is projected to increase 42 percent over ten years, from 5.3 million in 2000 to 7.5 million by 2010 (Fullerton and Toosi, 2001). Similarly, Hispanic women’s total employment actually increased 76 percent, from 3.8 million in 1990 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1991) to 6.7 million in 2001 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002) and is projected to increase another 37 percent by 2010 (Fullerton and Toosi, 2001). African-American women’s employment is expected to grow by 22 percent 2002 to 2010, a lower rate than for Hispanic and Asian-American women. However, at 8.5 million in 2002, African-American women are the largest group of women of color in the United States workforce (Fullerton and Toosi, 2001). In spite of their growing presence in the US labor force, and in spite of the existence of corporate diversity practices in many large organizations, women of color are vastly underrepresented in top management positions. While Asian-American women represent 3 percent of the US labor force, the percentage of corporate ofﬁcers who are Asian women in the Fortune 500 is a disproportionately low 0.29 percent in 2002. Similarly, Hispanic women make up 4 percent of the labor force, but represent only 0.24 percent of corporate ofﬁcers in 2002. African-American women were somewhat better represented,...
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