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.
While all women may face barriers to career progression and education opportunities, those women whose identities intersect 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, 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 to a disabled white woman, and both deserve to be represented at work.
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 the recruitment process, meaning it can be harder to be taken seriously and respected to secure their dream career. 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 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 UK workforce and have to work harder than many other people to achieve career success and stability.
If you are a BAME woman looking for workplace support, speak to HR, seek out staff networks and consider joining a union. For more help and guidance, visit our dedicated guide to BAME jobseekers.
While there has been lots of progress for LGBTQ+ rights across the UK, including in the form of workplace legislation and support, many LGBTQ+ women still find it challenging to bring their whole selves to work without facing harassment 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.
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 work. However, 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.
If you require more support, have a look at our pages on Women in STEM, Pregnancy and Maternity, and Your Rights.