Racism and discrimination: the reality of work for BME women

Crop workplace racism

“This research sets out the grim reality for BME women as they face everyday racism and sexism in Scotland’s workplaces"

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19th February 2019 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

A majority of black and minority ethnic (BME) women have experienced racism, discrimination and racial bias at work in Scotland.

Research published by Close the Gap, which campaigns for women’s labour market equality, finds that BME women in Scotland face high levels of racism and discrimination, and encounter a range of barriers in entering and progressing at work.

The research, called Still Not Visible, found that three-quarters (72%) had experienced racism, discrimination and racial bias in the workplace.

Nearly half (47%) had experienced racism, discrimination and/or racial bias when applying for a job, and 41% had experienced this during an interview and around half (49%) felt that they had been overlooked for a workplace development opportunity.

Almost half (42%) reported experiencing bullying, harassment or victimisation and more than half (52%) did not report it to their employer, and of those who did, less than a quarter (23%) were satisfied with how their complaint was handled. 

Anna Ritchie Allan, executive director of Close the Gap, said: “This research sets out the grim reality for BME women as they face everyday racism and sexism in Scotland’s workplaces. Exclusionary workplace cultures and biased employment practice prevent BME women from entering and progressing at work, hindering their career opportunities, and contributing to their higher levels of poverty.

“The lack of confidence in employer complaints procedures is a critical problem. We need to see strong leadership from employers on tackling discrimination and implicit bias, and systems put in place to meaningfully address concerns about racism.”

Jamie Hepburn, minister for fair Work and skills, responded: “We believe individuals from different ethnic backgrounds enrich Scotland socially, culturally and economically. The Scottish Government is taking a number of actions to advance race equality and tackle racism within society and the labour market, and to ensure better outcomes for people from ethnic minority groups.

“It must be our aim to ensure that each and every person in Scotland has the opportunity to work towards their goals and be supported towards securing fulfilling meaningful employment.”

21st March 2019 by Charlene

How do you complain of harassment and other discrimination (race, religion...) when the wrong doings are done by your employers themselves ?