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The stark – sometimes racist – reality of being a Black woman in finance

I get asked questions like, ‘What do you do?’, followed by incredulous responses such as, ‘Really? How did you get that role?’, writes deputy bank CEO Paulette Simpson

Friday 08 March 2024 09:13 GMT
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As a Black woman in the finance sector, I often face difficulty being heard and taken seriously. My contributions have regularly been overlooked or dismissed in many meetings and discussions, especially with external parties. While addressing this, there is the age-old question of whether I am being “assertive” or “aggressive”.

I would get asked questions like “What do you do?” which were often followed by incredulous responses such as “Really? How did you get that role?”

The other challenges Black women in finance face are the constant pressure to prove themselves, feeling as though they must work 10 times harder than their counterparts to achieve recognition and opportunities. Sometimes feeling subtly pressured to feel “grateful” for occupying such a role. Despite having decades of experience, there’s a pervasive assumption, especially in the last few years, that our success must be attributed to diversity initiatives rather than our merit and dedication.

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