Black Women Deserve the Space to Become Decision Makers


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Beauty product companies have recently come under fire for portraying black women in a negative light. The lack of positive representation of black women in the advertising industry raised a major debate on the lack of diversity in the advertising world and also the absence of black women representation on decision-making boards.

For me, this came as a concern not only as a black woman but also as an aspiring corporate black woman, on whether this is happening because there is a lack of black woman representation within the advertising industry, or could it be that black women are being used as a front for purposes of complying with affirmative action.

Could diversity change the way companies present their brands?

The misrepresentation of any group within the corporate world propagates a misconducted portrayal of the group whether is it black women, the LBGTI community, the black community in general, or any other group. Diversity is most important in corporate industries because corporate industries are the ones that have the final say on a product being consumed. Since black women have a clear understanding of black women realities and culture, it is important that they sit on decision-making boards. 

You would think that this only happens in countries like the United States of America where black women are the minority, but being a South African (a country where African women are the majority), this seems to be a global issue. The African advertising industry has also received backlash in previous months.

Global beauty brand Dove is just one of a few companies to come under fire for ill representing black women. Nivea Africa also received backlash for an advert that showed a black woman using the product to lighten her skin, seeming to promote skin lightening. 

This is more than an issue of beauty, but that of who hands power over how black women are portrayed. Companies should be obliged to make boards that are representative of all groups. Black women have proven themselves time and time again that they are capable and qualified to lead and make decisions. According to a study done by Statistic South Africa  young black people in the country have the highest education levels in history and in 2011 women made up 54% of university students enrollment.

The debate of diversity is one that we should be having, it is important not only make sure that women are properly portrayed in mainstream media, but also to make sure that the industry is opened up for women to become decision makers. Black women deserve to be given a platform and have their voices heard and recognized.

Images credited to [Jopwell] 


Mokgadi Raboshakga is a journalism graduate and a postgrad student from South Africa. She is a content creator and has covered both entertainment and inspiration news stories based on social issues.



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