An evening with women of my reflection, working across the Civil Service, openly sharing similar work experiences was energising, fun and uplifting. The energy was surreal, the discussions flowed from one table to the other and the views shared were sincere, non-apologetic and refreshing. I was in my element. I saw this evening as an opportunity to network with like-minded women of my reflection.
A vision brought to life by two black women: @JennaNDavis and @memsafro, who both shared a desire to create a safe space for African Caribbean women to network and interact, came to fruition on the 19th December at Westminster Kitchen.
Fifty black women of African Caribbean descent dined and discussed issues that affected black women in the Civil Service. The attendees shared ideas and views about politics, the economy, every day issues, as well as micro-aggressions in the workplace and the challenges faced to break through the glass ceiling (glass ceiling is an unacknowledged barrier to advancement for black women, in this context, the Civil Service).
The discussions and experiences shared legitimised the claims I made in my book: Black Women Prison Employees: The Intersectionality of Gender and Race, published by Edwin Mellen press. It is my assertion that black women’s work experience is influenced by their gendered racialisation. Gendered racialisation is a term used to describe how meanings attributed to black women’s physical characteristics of ‘female’ and ‘black’ influences their position in the workplace. The women who attended this event worked across the Civil Service, in different roles and in different departments across the UK. But yet, they were able to connect with a shared experience of gender and racial discrimination, irrespective of whether they had personally encountered gender and racial oppression.
Looking forward, we need more safe spaces (discussed in my YouTube video) to be made available for professional black women to discuss, support and empower each other to successfully navigate the complex terrain of white male patriarchal organisations. For a limited time I will be selling softcover copies of my book: Black Women Prison Employees: The Intersectionality of Gender and Race for a discount price of £45 + postage and package from my website.