WOCA 2022: The Experience of Women of Color in the Workplace

Leading academic researchers shared scientific evidence on the experiences of women of color at work and solutions to the obstacles they face at the 2022 annual Women of Color and Their Allies event held in Louisville on Sept. 21 in conjunction with Humana. 

One area of research was the motherhood penalty – the phenomenon in which women’s pay decreases once they become mothers. Research from Dr. Sreedhari Desai, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior & Crist W. Blackwell Scholar University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill highlighted that while white women experienced the penalty, but Black women didn’t. 

“With white women, we tend to stereotype them as we know as being warm and moderately competent,” she said. “When you go ahead and add the layer of motherhood on top of that, then they are perceived as being more warm and nice. Overall, this doesn’t make them very attractive to recruiters.”

“However, with Black women, who are being stereotyped as being strong, dominant and competent when you go ahead and add the layer of motherhood their levels of warmth and niceness increase, so they seem like a more attractive package as a whole,” she added.

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