Asian Women in the Workplace
By Tasada Junsook, BA
Senior Associate Northern Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation
As an Asian-Canadian women as well as a first generation Asian, I felt a barrier to get ahead at work despite the hard work. The language seems to be the worst barrier. Less experience employees whose first language is English or French seems to be chosen to advance quicker. I entered the workforce with advanced degrees from post-secondary institutions. With commitment to excellence, strong work ethic, and respect for the authority, I am always valued in the company.
However, my peers seem to progress to upper-level management quickly and into the titled-officer positions quickly, I was promoted later compared to other peers who were born in Canada. I noticed that may first generation Asian-Canadian Women remain in the lower positions or middle-management levels.
We are challenged on two fronts: being women and being Asian. As a woman, I must balance both my career and my husband’s career. Many of the female executives I have met talked about the struggle to hold back their careers until their husbands’ careers are on track to match their own. Then, there is the decision whether to have children and to take on the responsibility of the primary caregiver. Add to these challenges, women’s tendency to not raise their hand until they feel they are sufficiently qualified for a promotion, while most male counterparts fearlessly and boldly ask for promotion even with fewer qualifications or experience.
I feel that the above challenges Asian women like me face are slowly improving, and I am optimistic that we will be recognized as successful business leaders.