Here at Aspiring to Include, we are determined to support all women, no matter their background, identity and experience. We understand that while our gender has a significant impact on an employee’s work experiences, it’s not the only factor that informs their opportunities and identities. Intersectionality is a vital aspect for us to acknowledge.

While all women may face barriers to career progression and education opportunities, those women whose identities intersect with other minority and unrepresented groups, face many more. Some of these different identities may include disabled women, Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women, women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, women from various educational backgrounds, religious women, transgender women, and LGBTQ+ women. 

Given that these employees face more than one point of oppression, they are most vulnerable to workplace harassment and are most likely to be discriminated against. Being genuinely committed to equality, diversity and inclusion at work means not only ensuring there are sufficient proportions of women in the workplace, but ensuring that those women are from diverse backgrounds. An Asian able-bodied woman will have had a very different experience from a disabled white woman, and both deserve to be represented at work.

On this page, we are going to talk a bit more about women and diversity at work, in an intersectional way. 

BAME Women at Work

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women have always faced many barriers and challenges in the workplace. Many BAME women face prejudice and discrimination in recruitment, meaning it can be harder to be taken seriously and respected to secure their dream careers. However, this disparity has only been made worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Recent research found that 41% of BAME women said that remote working meant they were working more than before the lockdown, compared to 29% of white women. Furthermore, due to the disproportionate number of BAME women working in lower-skilled and lower-paid jobs that cannot be completed from home, 65% of BAME women said they felt anxious due to having to go out to work. 

This research shows that BAME women are some of the least valued people in the U.K. workforce and have to work harder than many other people to achieve career success and stability. Acknowledging this and spreading awareness on the subject can help start change. We need to know what the problems in society are so we can learn how to best provide support and reparations. For employers, knowing and understanding the social context that black women are living in is vital to being an equal employer. 

If you are a BAME woman looking for workplace support, you can speak to HR, seek out staff networks and consider joining a union. You can also search for diversity-positive employers to work for so you can be in the best possible environment for yourself. Working somewhere you are respected can make a world of difference. 

For more help and guidance from us, visit our dedicated guide for BAME jobseekers.   

LGBTQ+ Women

While there has been lots of progress for LGBTQ+ rights across the U.K., including workplace legislation and support, many LGBTQ+ women still find it challenging to bring their whole selves to work without facing harassment and bullying. 

Specifically, transgender women face vast levels of discrimination, and many find it hard to access a meaningful and successful career due to stereotypes and prejudice. Transgender women are women who feel that the sex they were assigned at birth does not align with their gender identity and may undergo gender reassignment to correct this. 

Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic, which means that, per the 2010 Equality Act, a transgender person is protected from all forms of discrimination, in society, at home and at work. While this is firmly rooted in the law, unfortunately, it seems that it is not carried over to real life. In a recent survey, over 60% of transgender people said they had faced discrimination at work, and 36% said they had left a job because of discrimination.   

LGBTQ+ women can find support from local and national LGBTQ+ charities and staff networks and online support such as Citizens Advice and the government website. You can also find blogs, pages, and pieces of support on our own website. Check out our LGBTQ+ and News sections for more. 

Pregnant Women and New Mums 

Pregnant women and new mums can face a lot of discrimination and bias in the workplace. Pregnancy and maternity are also protected characteristics under the Equality Act and yet, again, this protection doesn’t always translate to real-life scenarios. 

Pregnant women are often unfairly dismissed from their jobs, denied promotions, and under fire from stereotypical “jokes” and comments. There are also frequently issues with discrimination around breastfeeding and physical changes for pregnant women. 

All of these instances count as illegal discrimination and they should be reported. You can read more detail about pregnancy discrimination on our dedicated page. 

Disabled Women 

As well as facing gender bias and discrimination, disabled women have an extra layer of oppression to deal with at work. Disabled people are very often discriminated against in recruitment and employment and this leads to a large disability employment gap in the U.K. It also leads to a decrease in disabled women’s well-being and mental health. 

It is important to remember that there is a very wide range of disabilities and the topic of disabled women is more than just an issue of wheelchair access. There are visible and non-visible disabilities of all types that affect women. It is key to read and learn as much as possible about these to support women at work. 

If you are a disabled woman, you will need multifaceted and intersectional support at work. Luckily, we have a sister site, Careers with Disabilities, that can help you with the right tools and resources for anything disability and career-related. You can bridge this support with that of this site, Aspiring to Include, to get everything you need. 

There is a lot of support out there, it is important to make the most out of everything you can. 

Where Women Can Find Diverse Opportunities 

If you are an intersectional woman looking for a job where you can be supported, respected and valued, we can help you find at it Aspiring to Include. If you are tired of being discriminated against and poorly treated, finding the right kind of job opportunity can change that pattern for a lifetime. 

We have a directory of inclusive employers and a live inclusive job board where you can find all the diverse opportunities you need. 

It pays to work somewhere diverse. 

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