This article compares workload distributions among faculty in Tech and Engineering. It documents that women do more of the work to keep things running smoothly, often referred to as office “housework.” Such work rarely earns formal credit or recognition. In technology fields, women of color report that they are asked to lead HR or DEI efforts they were not originally hired to conduct, yet this work isn’t compensated or recognized as promotion-worthy. This has been termed the “minority tax.”
Further, in the report from the Center for WorkLife Law & Society of Women Engineers, women of color more strongly than White women report being shut out of creative work without access to desirable assignments. In Engineering, the authors found that 26% of White men but 55% of women of color report doing more of the undervalued work than their colleagues of comparable seniority and experience. In addition, 61% of White men, but less than half of women of color, report they were more likely than their peers to be assigned to high-profile tasks or teams.
Navigating the minority tax makes workplace climates challenging because speaking up about the workload distribution often induces racial and gender stereotypes around ‘being difficult.’ Increasing awareness of these tendencies can empower colleagues to consciously work to create more equitable workloads ranging from DEI efforts to office tasks. Please feel free to seek guidance and just in time strategies from the ADVANCE Advocates Team.
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