Creating and interviewing black women leaders about their working lives and career paths was something I’d thought about for a long time. Initially I worried that no-one would be interested in being interviewed or perhaps there wouldn’t be much to say. The more I thought about it and my own experiences, I decided it was something I had to do.
What about my experience?
I’ve had the experience of being the only black woman in the office. I was raised to work hard and believe that after university, the working ‘world was my oyster’. Working in customer services, project managing and communications – I know what it’s like to be the only black face in the office; to sometimes feel the cultural differences that can ‘breeze’ through an office, especially when everyone else is white British.
Whether it was the surprise at how well I spoke English to the being side-lined and left out of the favourite cliques; I have been on the receiving end of the covert racism that can hold a black woman back.
Taking Care of Her Business
Thankfully my determination and ability has meant that I was still able to succeed. I think a lot of us black women have a burning determination not to let the shade of our skin hold us back.
Why did I create Taking Care of Her Business video series? Because it’s time that our professionalism, hard work and ability was seen, heard and recognised. Yes we have to see more black women as leaders.
I’m still not satisfied with the exposure we receive. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying that we can only be proud of ourselves if we work in an office or the corporate world. Whether you are a black woman raising your children well, doing good work in your community or just keeping your head held high; we have every reason to be proud.
More than sitting in an office
But it’s in those professional seats of power and influence, where we can make changes for our community, make shifts in our families that create education and wealth and give us a better chance of climbing the economic ladder. So this is a lot more than being a black women in the office – this is about our lifestyles and black women having the lifestyles we deserve.
Why it’s time to ‘see’ more Black Women Leaders
A big part of this ‘why’ for me is about our young black girls and women. We have to show them the profiles, that can help them to ‘win’ in a world that doesn’t always welcome us. They have to have the role models that show them what is possible and more.
But don’t misunderstand me – I’m not trying to say that us black women are lazy or not doing enough. We know how hard we have to work. Seeing the businesses and careers we have built and created is proof of how far we have come. But our hard work and profiles are not being seen in the way we deserve them to be. We know that white mainstream media still wants to publicise any negative stories about us; but struggles to give us the spotlight we deserve.
So where do we start?
I think that doing whatever you can – whether it’s to support & encourage our young women, start a business or get your qualifications – there is something we can all do to support and encourage each other and our younger women. Creating these videos gave me an opportunity to show the different types of black women and careers we are exploring. Removing the stereo-types of baby mothers or black women ‘looking for a man to pay for their new weave’ is so important to me. I had to show that we are more than that and will continue to do so.
So what are you planning to do? Leave a comment below as it will be great to hear from you.
Want to watch each video on social media? Follow the links below: