Asian individuals represent the largest racial group of STEM professionals, however, a recent study on the San Francisco Bay Area’s tech sector found that they were the least likely to become managers and executives. Additionally, another study reveals that Asians encounter the same forms of bias experienced by other people of color. This statistic is revealing: the majority of diversity initiatives in STEM address the challenges faced by underrepresented minorities (URMs) — Black and Latinx people — but exclude Asian people.
Because Asian Americans aren’t always counted as an underrepresented group, the disparity may not be an obvious problem to companies. “Asian Americans are the forgotten minority in the glass ceiling conversation,” say Buck Gee and Denise Peck, two former Silicon Valley executives. According to their findings, Asians are sometimes grouped with whites in diversity reports, while at other times they are omitted from reporting altogether.
The effects of this discrimination and bias on Asian professionals’ health and wellbeing can be profound. The consequences of the glass ceiling on minorities have been examined in an article by Healthline, which indicates that having a stalled career and not being able to earn a desired income can lead to feelings of self-doubt, isolation, resentment, chronic stress, mood disorders, and anger.
In order to create an environment that fosters equality and opportunity for all, it is important to understand and address the injustices and inequalities experienced specifically within the Asian STEM community. Companies must also address the glass ceiling Asian workers face by developing social-inclusion initiatives, culture specific training, and unconscious bias prevention. This article will provide access to these and other resources.