Being a Black Woman in 2018: Facing the glass ceiling

faire face au plafond de verre dans le monde du travail quand on est une femme noire / facing the glass ceiling as a black woman

“Hey girls tell me, do you feel like you’ve been facing the glass ceiling in your carreer ? ”

It all started with a question, that question, forced each of us to have a painful introspection on our respective lives and careers and start talking about it and sharing our experiences.

We then realized that yes, at the end of the day, we all faced at least once this imposture. This moment where you are made to understand that despite your abilities, despite your skills … you are a woman and moreover a Black Woman.

When your skin color takes precedence over your degrees

I am a young woman who has always enjoyed learning. This has always been what was expected of me. My father never wanted me to be the perfect housewife or play less than the boys. My dad wanted me to have a well made brain and I tried my best to make him proud. This has been the case until the last three years, I have been told by dint of false examples, that I could not change my job and especially that I did not have the right to claim more in term of salary.

I did a little research with my co-promoters to realize that: with equal degrees, equal skills and similar missions, I did not even get close to the average low wages. And this, even when I compared myself only to other women.

And this desire to maintain me in that position, which I did not much like, although excellent at my job, was in no way justified. I had confirmation that I ran right into this glass ceiling in my career when I clearly asked my business engineers: “what should I do to get the type of assignment I want?” and that it took them months to answer to me that I should be trained because I did not think they were competent enough in that area. I validated this training within a few days and despite that, I still did not have priority over the job interviews I wanted. Worse, I was not even presented to the past the interview.

I resigned.


faire face au plafond de verre dans le monde du travail quand on est une femme noire / facing the glass ceiling as a black woman


When your skin color mingles with the administrative

Black ? In luxury? Yes but not too much. Yes, but polite. “Oh you’re not that black”, “you have absolutely no accent it’s crazy”.

I made my entrance into the world of luxury years ago. Fashion is my thing and I feel good, I feel comfortable in it. But when I entered the luxury industry, I heard beautiful stupid things. The worst ? This job that I got and which had obviously shocked a shop manager. She did not stop herself from saying to me “there are not many like you at this type of positions”
Like me? What is it exactly ? “But it’s understandable, you’re not very dark.”

I have, like many, already had racist remarks on several occasions, but it was the first time in my work that I understood that I would not go higher. I can be light for a Black Woman, but still, I am Black. I stayed in this position for two years and my presentiment was confirmed when I had to go to the next level and it was made clear to me that I could not be granted executive status. but that of course I will have all the advantages going with the post. It was just an administrative detail, but it was too much of a detail.

I moved to another fashion Home where my status is recognized and my job is full of challenges.


When women are preventing you from moving forward

“We do not talk enough about the ceiling maintained by women on other women”.

Throughout my career I have only had women as managers / bosses. And if I have always worked without asking too many questions, lately I have encountered several inconsistencies. When, at a higher hourly rate, bigger clients and effectively accomplishing more (in my job and with the clients), I was told, not once, not twice, but three times (three years) in a row that I will receive a much lower bonus than all of my colleagues, it was no longer a matter of discrimination related to gender but well related to my race: Black.

I resigned and I am much better elsewhere.


I was in a period of extended internship, they proposed it to me with the firm intention of  hiring me. Then comes the reorganization of the teams and I find myself with two new leaders: two women. They made my life impossible, preventing me from learning (which is the purpose of an internship) and moreover to evolve. I was only wrong in a mostly female team, of being black: the only black woman in the team. I left before the end of the internship without returning.


faire face au plafond de verre dans le monde du travail quand on est une femme noire / facing the glass ceiling as a black woman

The advice of Le Club des Cotonettes facing the glass ceiling

Be honest with you and extremely objective. When it comes to determining whether you are facing the glass ceiling and why, it is not the time to pity yourself  or find excuses. Analyze each situation in an objective way and submit them to relatives who are cool enough to face the situation without emotion. At first, try to find professional solutions to the objections that are opposed to you.

Never stop believing in yourself. You are strong and intelligent. And yes you can not know everything, you will constantly have to train yourself, to get cultivated on different topics. Stay curious so you can make move in your career.

Leave if you are not appreciated at your fair value, if your work is not recognized, if you are not paid as much as you should, if you have stated it several times, during individual evaluation and / or collective without seeing any evolution. Update your resume, apply, find a new job and resign (in that order).

If the situation has a significant impact on yourself confidence and your ability to evolve in the business environment, do not hesitate to contact platforms like NkaliWorks whose mission is to boost women of color  in the business world.

Mymou - Rédactrice Beauté

En amoureuse du cheveu crépu et naturel, je partage astuces, conseils et bons plans depuis 8 ans maintenant. Je suis une flemmarde confirmée qui raffole de coiffures ! D'ailleurs, mes tutoriels sur YouTube (Mymou: ) rencontrent un franc succès car ils sont faciles à reproduire.

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