Institutional Barriers & Their Effects: How can I talk to colleagues about these issues?

Institutional barriers (IBs) are policies, procedures, or situations that systematically disadvantage certain groups of people. IBs exist in any majority-minority group situation. When an initial population is fairly similar (e.g., in male-dominated professions), systems naturally emerge to meet the needs of this population. If these systems do not change with the times, they can inhibit the success of new members with different needs. IBs often seem natural or “just the way things are around here.”

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