The modern workplace, though evolving, continues to confront significant challenges for women of color.
A confluence of factors, including gender and racial biases, systemic barriers and underrepresentation in leadership roles create a unique set of challenges that demand both formal initiatives and systemic transformation.
Recent tech industry layoffs have highlighted a concerning trend: women, particularly women of color, are disproportionately affected.
Despite constituting less than a third of the tech workforce, women accounted for nearly 45% of job losses in recent layoffs, according to Layoffs.fyi data. At the same time, DEI departments faced layoffs and significant budget cuts as tech companies contended with economic woes.
Meanwhile, the McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2023 report revealed that women of color remain underrepresented at nearly every level in the corporate pipeline, especially in leadership positions.
They face lower promotion rates, with only 73 women of color promoted to manager positions for every 100 men, a decline from the previous year. Additionally, women of color represented just one in 16 of all C-suite leaders.
Going forward, it is essential for organizations to implement targeted strategies, including unbiased hiring practices, formal leadership development programs and employee resource groups, that support and advance women of color in the workplace.
To understand how these strategies are implemented in practice and their real-world impact, Built In spoke to Shenita Walton, a Systems Administrator at GoodRx.
Shenita shared her experiences and insights on the initiatives in place at GoodRx that empower women of color, offering a firsthand perspective on the positive changes and continuing challenges in creating an inclusive and equitable workplace.
GoodRx is a leading healthcare marketplace that offers millions of people access to reliable health information, telehealth services and prescription discounts at over 70,000 pharmacies.
What initiatives — employee resource groups, unconscious bias training for managers and so on — are in place to empower women of color at your workplace?
One of the main initiatives GoodRx has in place is employee resource groups (ERGs), and the one that I’m most involved in is the BIPOC ERG, which stands for Black and Indigenous People of Color. This particular group is specifically for women and men of color who identify as BIPOC. It’s a safe space to connect with our peers across the company. This has been such a great experience because I’ve been able to form friendships and connect with others even though I’m a remote employee.
Another initiative I’m a part of is our executive leadership mentorship program. This program has had a positive impact not only in shaping my career path but also in allowing me to be seen and appreciated as an important part of the company. It’s an actionable stance that shows GoodRx cares about me in the present and the future.
Share an example of how GoodRx’s empowering culture has positively impacted your experience.
GoodRx supported a companywide webinar that addressed impostor syndrome. It provided tools and tactics to not only recognize symptoms in ourselves but also to navigate this syndrome going forward, in and outside of the workplace. Having something like this accessible has been great for tapping into some things many of us deal with privately, especially as a woman of color.
“Supporting women of color goes far beyond just saying what sounds good — it also backs that up with action.”
What advice do you have for other employers hoping to better support women of color?
Diverse leadership is critical. Unless you are a woman of color, it’s hard to know the extent of inequality we face. Ensure the workplace is inclusive and actively committed to recruiting women of color. Supporting women of color goes far beyond just saying what sounds good — it also backs that up with action.