19 de November de 2021


How does structural racism affect the insertion of black people in the labor market?

Racism is prejudice or discrimination against a person or group that is part of an ethnic or racial minority. It can be practiced directly, through physical and verbal aggression, accusations and even be followed in a store.

But, often, racism goes beyond physical and verbal aggression. Prejudice is often rooted in society. These cases, called structural racism, bring many harm to black people, including the difficulty in occupying prominent positions in the labor market.

In Brazil and in several other countries, racism favors whites and harms blacks, browns and indigenous people.

On this day of Black Consciousness, understand how racial prejudice affects black and brown people and how to minimize these negative impacts.

But what is Black Consciousness day?

First of all, we need to know why the day of Black Consciousness was created. The date, celebrated on November 20th, celebrates Afro-Brazilian culture and raises awareness of the resistance, struggle and suffering of the black population.

The date refers to the history of Brazil. During the colonial period, almost 5 million Africans were enslaved here in Brazil, in precarious living conditions and without basic rights. November 20th was chosen because it was the date of the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, one of the greatest quilombola leaders in the country and a symbol of black resistance.

The abolition of slavery in 1888 did not abolish the differences between blacks and whites. Without public policies on work, housing, health and education, the newly freed once again struggled to survive: houses without structure, low education and worse jobs.

That is where the problems of structural racism that have impacted the lives of black and brown people even today come from and that we are going to address now.

Structural racism and unemployment

According to the IBGE, 14.1% of economically active Brazilians are unemployed, which corresponds to 14.4 million people. But that proportion is even higher among blacks. According to the IBGE, one in five economically active black Brazilians are without a job.

This difference was accentuated during the pandemic, but inequality was already a reality in the country. An analysis by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) showed how inequalities associated with sex, race/color and age in the labor market were affected by the 2020 crisis.

The survey showed that the most vulnerable population groups were the hardest hit. This is the case of women, blacks and young people.

In relation to race, the gap between whites and non-whites increased. Before the pandemic, in 2015, the difference in the proportion of employed persons between blacks and whites corresponded to 2.4 percentage points and rose to 5.3 percentage points in 2020.

In the case of blacks, the occupancy rate went from 55.1%, in 2015, to 45.9%, in 2020. While, in the case of whites, the percentage also dropped: from 57.5%, in 2015, to 51.2% in 2020.

In addition, the study proves that there was an increase in both the transition to unemployment and/or inactivity and the reduction in entry to occupation more intensely for blacks in 2020.

Command of companies

But structural racism is not just reflected in the difficulty of being employed. Within companies, black people are under-represented in senior positions: less than 5%.

The data comes from a survey carried out by the Talenses consultancy in partnership with Insper. Also according to the study, in companies headed by men, 95% have a white president. Blacks are 0.3% and browns 2.2%.

In those led by women, 98% are white leaders and 1.9% are black.

Among the reasons for these inequalities is the lower level of education of blacks and browns – more than 1 year of difference for whites. Therefore, actions for the inclusion and permanence of black people in schools and professional training courses are necessary.

At the Ramacrisna Institute, black children, youth and adults receive quality care and education in order to reduce inequalities and have more opportunities in the labor market.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Ramacrisna Institute believes that giving new opportunities to vulnerable people contributes to the reduction of racism and to the improvement of the entire community.

For this reason, our students, partner companies and people around us have related our work to the Sustainable Development Goals related to:

  •     10 – Reduction of inequalities
  •     4 – Quality education
  •     8 – Decent work and economic growth

In this month of Black Consciousness, contribute to fighting structural racism and reducing social inequalities. Discover our projects and make your donation.

Read too: Digital inclusion: how to bring technology to everyone?


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