Stories Behind the Data: Women of Color in the Nonprofit Sector


Written by Ofronama Biu and Noelia Mann

At Building Movement Project, we believe that the qualitative data we gather about individuals’ personal experiences, whether they reinforce or challenge our findings, are just as valuable as the quantitative data we compile. For this reason, our free, upcoming webinar exploring the findings of Race to Lead: Women of Color in the Nonprofit Sector will feature discussants Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez; Vice President, Center for Systems Innovation; Annie E. Casey Foundation (image right) and Kelley Robinson, Incoming Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund (image left). By engaging in conversation with report author Ofronama Biu about how the findings and recommendations outlined in the report resonate with their experiences and observations, Sandra and Kelley will offer much-needed individual perspectives, personalizing the impacts of inequitable systems and practices, and offering suggestions for how we can move forward.

These individual perspectives are essential to offering a full-picture view of what’s happening for women of color in the nonprofit sector. Indeed, an important part of our methodology for the original Race to Lead report, as well as this most recent report focusing on Women of Color, included gathering written qualitative responses, conducting interviews, and convening in-person focus groups around the country. 

Doing so allowed us to discover, for example, that what resonated more for women of color related to the career support data was not the lack of performance evaluations and feedback but rather receiving excessive questioning about their abilities and decisions. Similarly analyzing the write-in responses helped us understand how race and gender were barriers for women of color. Across all five groups of women of color whose experiences are featured in this report—Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, Native American and trans women of color—one of the most common themes was concern about inequitable salaries. A significant number of responses centered around having ideas or contributions ignored. Several women of color described being persistently stereotyped as unqualified, inexperienced, or unskilled.

We hope you will join us on April 18th to hear from Sandra and Kelley, and consider sharing your own experiences and ideas of how the sector can walk its big DEI talk via our brand new social media campaign, to be launched during the webinar! Stay tuned…

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