Workforce Solutions

Why Women of Color Are Leaving and How to Rethink Your DEI Strategy

Cogent Infotech
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Dallas, TX

The pandemic impacted several service-focused businesses that employ women in large numbers. But most importantly, it has played a critical role in driving people out of the workforce. Studies show that increased focus on household duties has affected women employed in the corporate world. According to a report, 42% of women report high burnout compared to 35% of men.

McKinsey Research demonstrates that the impact on women of color can get especially severe with The Great Attrition movement ongoing. While 35% of white women are considering leaving their jobs in the next three to six months, for women of color, the percentage has jumped to 46%.

As a result, businesses must adopt a more considerate approach to retain the gains made in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) over the past few years.

Most companies base their DEI strategy on broad groups – gender, race, and disabilities. This focus overlooks the fact that many women come from multiple and often overlapping identity groups. The absence of focus on intersectionality leads to negative workplace experiences for women of color.

Rethinking DEI Strategy: Actionable Insights

Here are some of the actions that can help us in our quest to rethink the DEI strategy:

Focusing on Intersectionality

Identifying and channeling our focus on the intersectionality of various team members is helpful. Furthermore, we must determine the succession plans, promotion rates, and participation of women of color in the team.

Creating a mentoring program or sponsoring a group of employees that need support may yield better results. The sponsorship programs should be designed to help meet the needs of underrepresented people in the workforce.

Offering Relevant Benefits

To improve the participation of women of color, employers need to provide relevant benefits that help them meet challenges. It can start with asking them about their expectations. For instance, the desire to care for the family is one of the primary reasons women, including those from biracial backgrounds, leave the workforce.

Hence, companies can achieve good results by introducing family-supportive policies that help provide direct financial support to women of color.

Tracking Impact 

The participation of women, in general, has increased in the workforce. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of women of color. The number of women participating in the workforce stands at around 20%. However, for women of color, the number has dropped to 4%. Hence, tracking the impact of the DEI strategy and setting accountability in the organization is critical for success.

As employers, we must understand the gravity of this challenge. It would also help to analyze how the pandemic can erode the DEI gains if not handled in time. An organization can target diversity gains with the suggested actions, provided they are implemented in letter and spirit.

For more such insightful articles, follow the Cogent Infotech Blog.


What is a DEI Strategy?

DEI strategy stands for efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. DEI strategy for a business means creating an ecosystem where everyone is respected, welcome, and able to grow.

How to Prioritize DEI at Work?

Prioritizing DEI includes:

  • Pushing for an inclusive recruitment and hiring process.
  • Providing paid remote opportunities.
  • Creating employee resource groups.
  • Demonstrating diversity in the executive leadership team.

How to Advocate for Women of Color?

We can advocate for women of color in the workplace by learning to support them in multiple ways. Additionally, it would help to educate the team members on the importance of respect and dignity in the workplace.

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