Black History Month and Women Leaders in STEM: Belinda Coleman

February is Black History month and the Coleman Group employees would like to celebrate our Chief Executive Officer, Belinda P. Coleman.

Why? Read below.

Regrettably, very few women of color are currently operating at the C-level in corporate America. According to a 2019 National Science Foundation report, Black women earned more than 33,000 bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, and 24 percent of doctorates awarded to Black women were in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in 2016. But in 2017, only five percent of upper-level jobs in STEM were held by Black women and men combined. Further studies show they are successful in climbing the corporate level until a certain point, middle tier (Pompper, 2011; See Figure 1: Lean In, 2020). They are supervisors, team leads, managers, directors and even vice presidents but not members of the coveted C-Suite. Research shows the reasons vary from lack of sponsorship, training, diversity, and advocacy to merely organizations providing lip service by checking the box without any action (Pompper, 2011; Lockett et al. 2018; Beckwith et al. 2016).

The current lack of Black women in the C-suite issue is one that stems from a long history of underpinning issues must be examined. These issues are of social, economic, and racial origins. In addition to this, more research is needed in the areas of perception, biases, stereotypes, sexism.

Figure 1:

Underrepresentation of Black women in senior leadership. ((, 2020, p. 6).

Beckwith, S.A., Carter, D.R., & Peters, T. (2016). The Underrepresentation of African American Women in Executive Leadership: What’s Getting in the Way? Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 7(4).

Lockett, A. W., Gasman, M., Nguyen, T. (2018). HBCU Senior Level Administrators and HBCUs: The Role of Support for Black Women’s Success in STEM. Education Sciences, 8(2). (2020). The State of Black Women in Corporate America.”

National Science Foundation Report (2019). Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering.

Pompper, D., (2011).  Fifty years later. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24(4): 464-486.