Women of colour more likely to be asked to do 'office housework'

by Emily Douglas16 Apr 2018

Racial profiling is as unacceptable in the workplace as it is in every other part of life. However, a recent report published by Center for WorkLife Law has uncovered a very uncomfortable trend.

According to the study, which looked at a pool of over 3,000 engineers, it found that women of colour were more likely than white female counterparts to be asked to conduct ‘office housework’ - and they’re also less likely to say no.

The study looked at 3,000 engineers and found that women were 29% more likely to report doing office housework than men. Women of colour were 20% more likely than white men to be asked to clean up, with white women 18% more like than men to be asked to carry out admin tasks.

“When we surveyed a nationwide sample of lawyers, women of colour were the most likely to report doing more administrative tasks than their colleagues — over 20% more likely than white men,” the report details. “White women were 18% more likely to report doing more admin tasks than white men.”

The report continued: “Moreover, because of these stereotypes, women and people of color are under social pressures to volunteer for office housework activities.”

“They also risk pushback if they don’t take on these tasks (“She’s just not a team player” or “She thinks highly of herself, doesn’t she?”). And women are more likely to be assigned office housework because assigners tend to believe that women will accept the task.”

The report also highlighted what executives can do to help prevent this kind of racial profiling; namely to evoke the use of an HR executive to analyze data and patterns of office work. If there seems to be a correlation between gender, race and the ‘office housework’, address the issue head-on.



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