BY Farida Dawkins, 4:13am December 21, 2017,

Glass ceiling in 2018: are there cracks emerging or is it still intact?

Ursula Burns -- Photo Credit: CBS News

According to Forbes contributor Jonathan Webb, women are still not gaining employment in leadership roles as frequently as men.  Factor in the statistics for African-American women and clearly there’s a gigantic issue in the corporate advancement of women of color.

Since the exit of Ursula Burns, the African-American Xerox executive, there hasn’t been a reinstatement of an African-American woman as CEO of a fortune 500 company. These numbers are staggering, however, should we be surprised?

Let’s ponder the steps it takes to gain a powerful position in a company and an opportunity to showcase skills that are beneficial to the employer.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 64 percent of black females earned a post-secondary degree within the 2013-2014 time span, nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that this is the only ticket needed for that coveted corporate post.

STEM or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are top bills for financially stable money making jobs but minority female students aren’t necessarily gaining degrees in these fields. This can be attributed to low-income, the high cost of paying for college out of pocket, disinterest, discrimination, favoritism, and nepotism to name a few reasons. Without at least a degree or the intent to gain one, a woman won’t get a chance to intern at Walmart, Exxon Mobil, or Apple.

Lack of mentorship.  Let’s face it, African-American women can be extremely non-supportive of other black women.  No one is an island and it pays to at least have a sounding board nevertheless if two women can’t put their differences aside for their greater good, information will be lost to the detriment of the individuals.

No sponsorship. Many high profile companies hire from within their internal group of employees and if there is a small pool of black workers, there’s an even lesser chance of obtaining a high-ranking position.

Be bold or get left behind. If you ask several college students what their future plans are, they may not know. Or they are too afraid or bound by external circumstances such as sickness or family obligations to really shoot for their dreams. If a solid or even slow-moving plan, such as the formation of a small business or gaining an apprenticeship to gain relevant experience can be obtained, it will help in future goals.

On a personal note, it took me 14 years after I earned my communications degree to gain my dream; yes, my line of success is definitely a squiggly and Topsy-Turvey road in spite of, I explored other career paths, obtained internships, served my country, and pursued a master’s degree in a unique field.

It’s not being implied that the road to financial stability and gaining a high-paying job is easy.  It takes dedication, discipline, “failure” or setbacks, and resiliency.  One may have to think outside the box or find unconventional ways of achieving their goal. Volunteering for successful companies, serving on boards where significant chances of employment are viable, networking, entrepreneurship, and even investing in cryptocurrency are stepping stones in the right direction.

See below what others are saying about African-American women in CEO roles

Face2face Africa is an African-owned and operated media platform committed to informing and connecting black people around the world. Our mission is to bring a balanced perspective to the African narrative and provide the platform for discourse and interaction. If you have an important story to share or would like us to bring more attention to something in your community, please email us at

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: June 19, 2018


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