Cover Photo: illustration of a black woman professor leading a classroom discussion
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult

Women of Color in Academia Often Work Harder for Less Respect

The racist assumption that women of color are hired as faculty because of our identities rather than our credentials can have a serious impact on our careers.

This is Exit Interviews, a column by Nadia Owusu on the experiences of women of color in the workplace.


The Chronicle of Higher Education

“If there is a committee, especially if it has to do with diversity, I am expected to be on it,” Aliya told me. “Often, I am expected to chair it. They want me to be the ‘diversity’ on the diversity committee. And they want me to define what diversity is and why they should care about it in the first place.”

The Atlantic

Nadia Owusu’s first book, Aftershocks, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2021. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay chapbook, So Devilish a Fire, won the Atlas Review chapbook series. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Washington Post’s The Lily, the Literary Review, Electric Literature, Catapult, and others. Owusu grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. She is an Associate Director at Living Cities, an economic racial justice organization, and lives in Brooklyn.