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10/28/2020

Supporting Women of Color

If there is a bit of sunlight shining on this unprecedented year, it is a renewed focus on dismantling the racism that permeates American culture. 2020 has become a reckoning point for so many, a moment where the country has at last acknowledged that being anti-racist, rather than simply “not racist,” is the key to an equal future for all of us.

I am reminded how vulnerable we feel this year. As we live through a global pandemic that has hit BIPOCs the hardest of all, the real suffering it has brought has permeated the bubble of privilege those of us who are white Americans have been living in. When pain comes to our doorstep, we are more understanding of the pain of others — awakened to the suffering they feel. And many are now waking up to the need for concrete action.

NEW’s Support for Women of Color

NEW’s mission is to Advance All Women. Whatever has happened in 2020, we have not changed — it has always been our goal to transform workplaces for equality. Instead, the culture around us has changed. There is now a tailwind behind us and the work we do.

When NEW published our Advancing All Women study, we found that, without intervention, the number of women of color in senior positions would drop over the next 10 years. Dismantling the systemic racism that has held women of color out of our boardrooms will take work, and that is exactly the sort of work NEW is here to support.

This year, we released our Latinas in Corporate America study, which showed a real disconnect between Latinas and their mostly white male superiors. This lack of understanding of the unique value Latinas bring to corporate environments, of the lived history and cultural experiences they bring to bear, is a key pain point keeping Latina women out of C-Suite roles.

Latinas in Corporate America was the first in a series of studies NEW will conduct into the experiences of women of color in our workplaces. We can’t resolve these issues without real research into the roots of the problem, conducted by listening, first and foremost, to the women they directly effect.

We Keep Working

NEW’s resources for women of color are strong and continue to grow. Our powerful “NEW Action for Women of Color” workshop offers organizations a comprehensive solution for addressing bias in their workforce. While it is typically offered on-site, it will now also be offered virtually — because the issues facing women of color in the corporate world haven't ended since your organization made the shift from offices to Zoom calls.

We also offer dozens of learning and development webinars, both from our headquarters and from NEW’s 22 regions around the country. Our vast library of past webinar content, available via our website, is a treasure trove of insight. For more information on NEW’s resources for workplaces tackling bias, you can visit newonline.org/wocresources.

NEW has always been here for women of color. Our mission is to Advance All Women. This year, we can all feel the hope in the air that the tide is turning for people of color in America. NEW will continue to be a part of that fight until our work is no longer needed a day we can all look forward to.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News. 

About the Author

Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing 13,000 members in 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at newonline.org. Read More