SEEKING PROFESSIONAL EQUITY

BA Women's Alliance

BA Women's Words

April 29, 2020

 

Before COVID-19, the 2020 EmpowHER’d cohort was to come to Washington, D.C. on May 30th to pursue their personal and professional development. This was one step on their journey to pursue their bold dreams and break the cycle of professional inequity.

Ask most anyone how they made the leap from student to professional and there is likely to be a connection that bridges the two life phases, such as participating in a study abroad program, volunteering for an organization, or completing an internship... Each involves bringing classroom lessons into the real world.

Can you define that leap into the professional world in the wake of COVID-19?

Even before COVID-19, internship experience was proven to increase a student's chance of getting a job twofold%. And on top of that, only one in five graduating students have a job offer at graduation... most of which are linked to previous internship experience... proving how vital internships are. In some fields, internships are a necessary experience in order to be competitive in the job market.

Women experience professional inequity starting on day one in their career pursuit, especially women of color.

Despite the professional benefits of participating in an internship, a number of disparities persist when it comes to internships. Consider these figures from before the fallout of COVID-19:

  • ~1.5 million internships are filled annually across the U.S. ---half are unpaid.
  • Women participate in 20% more unpaid internships than men.
  • When race is considered, Hispanic American students have the lowest rate of participating in an internship (53%), followed by African American students (60%), Asian American students (63%) and Caucasian students (68%).
  • A third of students receive financial support from their family to offset the costs of an unpaid internship. Many families cannot afford such an additional expense.
  • Three in four students work a second job in order to cover associated costs, a commitment which detracts from their studies or the internship itself.
  • As a result, many students are left with a difficult choice: participate in an unpaid internship that may advance their career but will cause monetary stress, work a part-time job with little professional value, or attempt to do both (which almost always has a negative impact on their academics).

These statistics demonstrate that an unlevel playing field exists when it comes to participation in internships, especially for women and even more so for women of color!

BA Women's Alliance

The BA Women’s Alliance is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization which supports the educational, personal, and professional development of women who seek to make a difference in the world.

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