April 24, 2024

The Ascendance of Black Women In Leadership

Woman of color leading a staff meeting with diverse colleagues to discuss black women in leadership

Over the last handful of years, there’s been a remarkable ascent of underrepresented professionals in workplaces across industries. Notably, one group that has been increasingly making strides are black women in leadership roles. Their journey reflects the triumphs achieved and the ongoing quest for greater inclusivity and equity in the workforce.

Notable Wins for Women in Leadership

Historically marginalized, women have steadily carved out spaces for themselves in leadership positions, shattering glass ceilings along the way. Women have demonstrated their capabilities as effective leaders, innovators, and decision-makers from corporate boardrooms to entrepreneurial ventures. 

Noteworthy achievements include: 

  • Increased representation in executive suites
  • Advancements in pay equity
  • Recognition of women-led businesses for their contributions to the economy

These wins showcase the invaluable contributions of women to the workplace and society.

The Growth of Women in the Workplace

Among the remarkable stories of progress, the rise of black women in leadership is noteworthy. Despite facing intersecting barriers of race and gender, black women have defied stereotypes and assumptions, claiming their rightful seats at the table. 

In a report by McKinsey, it was found that since 2015, women in the C-suite increased from 17% to 28%. Additionally, representation of women at VP and SVP levels improved, with 28% women in those roles, of which 21% are women of color.

As leaders, they bring unique perspectives, resilience, and determination to drive positive change within organizations. The growing presence of black women in executive roles, entrepreneurial ventures, and community leadership positions signals a significant shift towards greater diversity and representation in leadership.

Where More Work Needs to be Done

While celebrating the achievements of women, including black women in leadership, it’s essential to acknowledge that there’s still work to be done. Persistent gender and racial disparities continue to hinder the full participation and advancement of women in the workforce. 

Black women, in particular, face disproportionate barriers to career advancement, including: 

  • Systemic biases
  • Limited access to mentorship and sponsorship
  • Disparities in opportunities for professional development


Despite progress for black women, a 2022 report from Black Women Thriving (BWT) reveals that 66% don’t feel emotionally safe at work. Additionally, 78% have never participated in a sponsored mentoring program, underscoring persistent challenges.

Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from both organizations and society at large. Its’s required to dismantle structural barriers and create more inclusive environments where all individuals can thrive.

Inspiring Change for the Future

Despite the obstacles encountered, the journey of black women in leadership is one of resilience, determination, and inspiration. Their accomplishments serve as beacons of hope for future generations of underrepresented professionals, demonstrating that barriers can be overcome through perseverance and excellence. 

As we celebrate the progress made, let us also commit to fostering environments where diversity is acknowledged and celebrated. A space where all individuals have equal opportunities to succeed.

Moving Forward

As we look to the future, the continued rise of underrepresented professionals promises a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. 

Some effective ways that organizations can create pathways for all individuals to thrive include:

  • Championing diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Prioritizing mentorship and sponsorship programs
  • Actively challenging biases and stereotypes

Together, let us work towards building workplaces where talent knows no bounds and where every voice is valued and heard.

The climb of underrepresented professionals, including black women in leadership, is a testament to the resilience and determination of individuals breaking barriers and forging new paths. While celebrating the wins achieved, let us remain committed to the ongoing journey of progress and inclusion, ensuring that all individuals have the opportunity to reach their full potential in the workplace and beyond.

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