Black Women Hold Only 4% of Corporate Board Seats

The long-running fight against affirmative action and race-conscious opportunities by conservatives may finally reach a disastrous tipping point.

According to a Fast Company report, the reversal of affirmative actions could disproportionately affect Black women in the United States. Especially Black women in corporate America or those looking to make a future in that space.

A Grim Statistics

Only four percent of S&P 500 company board seats are currently held by Black women. Because of that, there is already an inherent disadvantage against Black women in corporate. It should not be ignored. Affirmative action is an intersectional issue that can potentially affect the structures designed to make organizations equitable. The United States is accountable for its troubled past.

A Personal Outlook

Amira Barger authored the Fast Company report. She is the executive vice president on the Global Health Sector team at Edelman. She provides consultation to Edelman on issues relating to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Barger detailed her firsthand experience of the nuances of equity and diversity in corporate America.

“In 2020, I joined a private networking group whose stated goal is the advancement of women in corporate spaces,” she wrote. “My core reason for joining was the espousal of access to opportunities rarely afforded to Black women—corporate board placement.

Barger says corporate boards are assumed to represent the most sought-after executives. Because they are paid positions, she says, they represent a significant opportunity to build personal wealth.

“To make matters worse, members of corporate boards got a 10 percent raise last year and earned an average of $49,200—nearly equal to the country’s median salary of $54,132,” Barger wrote.

According to the report, Black Women have a better chance of sitting on boards, when there are enough of them willing to provide the network, access and social currency to make it happen. All of these can be formed with the right access to academic spaces that consider the structural importance of maintaining affirmative action.

“In many cases, the networks, social capital, and resources that eventually define access, or lack thereof, are formed during the years spent in higher education,” Barger noted.

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