Working With Marginalized Communities


When a person chooses their future career path or advances through it, their background can play a significant role in their chance at success. The factors often negatively affect people by limiting their ability to further their careers and often turning them away from their desired career paths. Thus, it is crucial to consider socio-cultural factors to help clients and students overcome social obstacles and succeed in their chosen career paths.

Advocacy Statement

While many organizations focus on advocating for diversity and human rights, counselors can also play an essential role. Socio-cultural factors determine many elements of life: how people are treated and what opportunities they are given often rely on these factors (Shin & Lee, 2018). As a counselor, one can challenge the existing biases and help marginalized students and clients achieve their goals. This is something that counselors should strive for when working with clients from marginalized communities. People from marginalized communities possess abilities no lesser than others, and they deserve to have a chance at building their career paths free of prejudice.

Culturally Sensitive Career Counseling

People become aware of the traditionally established roles for what people can or cannot do based on their sex, race, or economic status from a very young age. It is why it is crucial to be culturally sensitive when career counselors, especially young students, lack the necessary tools to counter discrimination in their interpersonal relations (Ratts, 2017). For example, when young girls enter school, they have already become aware of how society views women at work (Shin & Lee, 2018). They often internalize this and become convinced never to follow a career in STEM (Conkel-Ziebell et al., 2019). When it comes to young people of color, can feel destined to fail when choosing a future career, as they might see their parents as unsatisfied and undervalued at work due to their race or ethnicity (Deas, 2018). It is essential to consider the socio-cultural differences between counselors and clients based on socio-cultural factors and how they can affect their communication (Ratts, 2017). Culturally sensitive career counseling considers these factors, thus creating a deeper and more thoughtful system that helps their clients succeed.

Advocacy Strategies

There are various ways a counselor can help their young clients of marginalized identities plan their career paths. Counselors should take a deeper look at how these factors affect them and build a system that helps them build self-confidence and an exploratory attitude towards life (Miller et al., 2018). It can be helpful to research the history of successful and important women and people of color who contributed significantly to their career fields. Examples like these would build confidence in students and give them role models they can relate to (Ratts, 2011). While building confidence is the first step, it is no less important to create or contact a network of sources where such students can look for career opportunities. Marginalized groups often struggle with entering their chosen professions more than privileged groups, especially young people. Workshops oriented at providing them with information about available possibilities can save them a lot of time and stress. Inviting people of similar marginalized identities and contacting organizations that focus on helping such people can also help them build social connections that can help in future work.


Diversity plays an essential role in counseling as people often feel limited in their career choices due to their marginalized socio-cultural background. Combating sexism, racism, and other forms of prejudice becomes an essential skill for counselors who work with people from marginalized socio-cultural backgrounds. The issue begins when children become aware of how people’s sex, race, class, or other identities affect their social roles, leading to low self-esteem. Culturally sensitive career counseling should consider these factors and help clients and students from a young age by building self-confidence and then creating networks and workshops that focus on providing them with opportunities.


Conkel-Ziebell, J. L., Gushue, G. V., & Turner, S. L. (2019). Anticipation of racism and sexism: Factors related to setting career goals for urban youth of color. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 66(5), 588–599. Web.

Deas A. (2018) Managing diversity in talent retention: implications of psychological contract, career preoccupations and retention factors. In M. Coetzee, I. Potgieter, & N. Ferreira (Eds.), Psychology of Retention (pp. 331-351). Springer, Cham. Web.

Miller, M. J., Keum, B. T., Thai, C. J., Lu, Y., Truong, N. N., Huh, G. A., Li, X., Yeung, J. G., & Ahn, L. H. (2018). Practice recommendations for addressing racism: A content analysis of the counseling psychology literature. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65(6), 669–680. Web.

Ratts, M. J., & Greenleaf, A. T. (2017). Multicultural and social justice counseling competencies: A leadership framework for professional school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 21(1b), 1-9. Web.

Ratts, M. J., & Wood, C. (2011). The fierce urgency of now: Diffusion of innovation as a mechanism to integrate social justice in counselor education. Counselor Education and Supervision, 50(3), 207-223. Web.

Shin, Y. J., & Lee, J. Y. (2018). Predictors of career decision self-efficacy: Sex, socioeconomic status (SES), classism, modern sexism, and locus of control. Journal of Career Assessment, 26(2), 322-337. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "Working With Marginalized Communities." October 30, 2022.