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Why the Bamboo Ceiling is a Real Thing and How it Hurts all POC

The glass ceiling is an invisible barrier women know all too well. As ambitious women, we set our goals high. We put in the work and are thriving in the workplace more than ever — yet there’s still a lack of visibility for women and minorities at the top. Just like the glass ceiling, there’s a similar roadblock built on bias and misconceptions that’s holding minorities and particularly, Asian professionals from reaching their professional potential. With a surge in violence towards Asians in Canada and abroad, this barrier is even more important to unpack (because not all racism is that blatant).

Stereotyped as “hardworking” and “educated”, Asian individuals face very specific barriers, unique to them. The term “bamboo ceiling” is a sad spinoff of the “glass ceiling” and is used to speak to the fact that Asians are underrepresented in leadership roles. The reality is that Asian professionals are missing from corporate boards and in management, even in fields where they make up a significant portion of the workforce.

The income divide in 2021 is still real and racialized (read: non-white) people are feeling it. According to new research by United Way Greater Toronto, income inequality continues to grow. “The earnings gap was barely noticeable in 1980,” reports the Toronto Star, “But by 2015, for every dollar earned by non-racialized Torontonians, racialized residents made an average of just 52.1 cents.”

Let’s explore what this barrier is and why it is something we can’t ignore in the today’s modern workplaces.

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