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Minority Women in Business: Getting Better But Not There Yet

Jul 25, 2008
Things are looking up for minority women. But don't break out the champagne just yet. In some ways, we still have a long way to go.

As tough as the corporate world has been on women in general, it has been brutal to minority women. Statistics have shown a dramatic disparity between the number of women of African-American, Hispanic, or Asian-American ethnicity and the number of white women in higher positions and an even larger disparity between minority women and white men. While this disparity is still glaring, recent years have shown signs of change.

According to data gathered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from 2002 to 2005, minority women are shifting upwards, albeit at a glacial pace, in their employment opportunities. For example, the number of black women in clerical, craft, operative, laborer, or service worker positions is steadily declining, while the number of black women in sales, technical, and professional positions is rising. Similarly, Asian-Pacific women are shifting away from laborer and operative jobs and flocking toward professional, technical, and sales positions. Interestingly, Hispanic women show significant increases in all job types.

What do these shifts mean for minority women? One word: opportunity. Black, Latino, and Asian women have more opportunities for well paid, more rewarding careers than perhaps any generation before them. This is encouraging. Especially among professionals, which include doctors, attorneys, nurses, accountants, minority women are leaving less rewarding career choices and taking advantage of unprecedented opportunities. This, in turn helps younger minorities to be aware of opportunities they might not have recognized otherwise.

Are opportunities endless? Not yet. Making up nearly 65 percent of management positions, white males still rule. White females make up 29 percent of the same segment. Minority males compose nearly 10 percent of the segment. That leaves minority females with the remaining 6 percent. Needless to say, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American women still have a long way to climb to catch up to their white counterparts.

What will it take for minority women to rise up through the ranks? Will it continue to happen in the near future, or will it take longer? While future career success largely starts in the home with supportive family members and friends, much advantage can also be gained from the right college education and making solid career progress after school. Earning the right college degree, and obtaining the right skills, and applying for the right jobs can make a world of difference. That's why choosing a school, a major, an internship or a career path can be so crucial. With the right moves, a lot of determination, and a strong education, women of color can move into full and meaningful careers where they can reach their potential.
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Education Guy provides advice and information for students interested in online degrees. For more information about specific college degrees like online nursing degrees, online health care administration degrees and more, visit www.classesandcareers.com.
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