Recent Study Shows Black Women Working in STEM Often Mistaken for Janitors or Secretaries

Written by Storyteller
A study summarized by the Harvard Business Review reveals forty-eight percent of black women scientists say they’ve been mistaken for administrative or custodial staff in the workplace.

The study found that bias in the workplace plays a huge role when women, especially women of color, decide to leave Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. Through interviewing  60 female scientists and surveying 557, the researchers conclude that there are four major patterns of bias women face at work:


  • Having to prove their competence over and over again
  • Walking a tightrope between being seen as too feminine to be competent and too masculine to be likable
  • Having their commitment to their work and their competence questioned after they start families
  • Navigating the tense relationships between women that result from the gender bias they all face.

View more of the study’s findings at


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