Stereotypes and biases can create barriers for Latinas and minority women in the workplace. Some of these biases are cultural, while others are rooted in sexism. These barriers often keep minority women from advancing in their careers and succeeding.
In a study conducted by the Center for Women Policy Studies, 21% of women of color said they did not feel they were free to be “themselves at work.” Additionally more than one third of women of color — ranging from 28 percent to 44 percent — feel they must “play down” their race or ethnicity to succeed in their careers.
However, minority women should not have to change themselves or hold back. Instead, we should all work to break down those barriers and dismantle harmful stereotypes and biases.
Here at Latinas in Business, we celebrate and amplify the voices of Latina and women entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals who are constantly breaking barriers, defying stereotypes, and championing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Join us in celebrating some of the many Latina entrepreneurs and leaders in our circle who are doing great work to break down barriers and create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive world.
Mónica Ramirez is a long-time advocate, organizer, social entrepreneur, and attorney fighting to eliminate gender-based violence and secure gender equity. For over two decades, she has fought for the civil and human rights of women, children, workers, Latinos/as, and immigrants.
She is the founder of Justice for Migrant Women, a 501(c)(3) independent non-profit that works to amplify the voices of migrant women and the struggles they face in their personal and work lives and create space for them when so many of them are silenced.
Through public awareness and educational campaigns, art activism, and strategic media initiatives, Justice for Migrant Women is bringing the issues and struggles of migrant women to the forefront of national conversation.
And like the people she serves as a leader and advocate, Mónica too has faced doubt and criticism throughout her career for her identity as a Latina.
“Throughout my career, some of the biggest obstacles that I have faced relate to the fact that I am a young Latina woman. Many people doubted my ability to create or sustain an organization to make my vision become a reality. They questioned my credentials and whether I could be the kind of leader worth investing in,” Mónica says. “I serve individuals who are also doubted and not given enough credit for their resilience, strength, and courage. They somehow not only survive but thrive and help the rest of us survive, too!”
Monica continues to break barriers and fight for social change by focusing on community because she believes “social change can not come from the back of an individual, it takes a diverse and dedicated community of allies…and together we will win!”
Mariela Dabbah is aTEDx and International speaker, award-winning, best-selling author and go-to corporate authority for Fortune 500 companies interested in inclusive cultures, and the founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement.
The Red Shoe Movement is a leadership development company powered by a global community of women and men allies who support each other for career success. The movement works to break biases in the workplace by fighting for greater gender diversity and inclusion.
During the height of the pandemic, Mariela and her team worked hard to support and uplift struggling women and create initiatives and programs to help keep women in the workforce as many began to lose their jobs or leave their careers.
“As the pandemic has proven, it’s impossible to predict what will happen five years from now. But our mission is to level the playing field for women and we will continue to do whatever we can to achieve it,” says Mariela.
The Red Shoe Movement continues to develop new programs to address the needs of its clients and communication campaigns that keep raising awareness to reach gender equity.
Stacie de Armas
Stacie de Armas is the Senior Vice President of Diversity Insights & Initiatives at Nielsen, where she conducts data harvesting, narrative development, and socialization of inclusive insights that cascade across multiple diverse identity groups—storytelling with a purpose. She is passionate about equity and advocacy for Latinos.
Stacie de Armas says being a Latinas has been her “superpower” in her work. At Nielsen, her position sits in a unique space that allows her to use Nielsen’s resources to uncover diverse community insights that empower and educate. Growing up, she never imagined she could do this job or have an extensive background as a consumer researcher, behaviorist, and thought leader in diverse communities.
“I never knew I could be a researcher. Growing up, stereotypes surrounded me on television, if I saw myself at all. And I didn’t realize that I could be more,” says Stacie. “I didn’t see myself on screen, and when I did, I didn’t see a doctor, or a scientist, or a strong woman. I often saw Latinas presented in a light that I didn’t recognize and wasn’t my truth. In my job, I get to change that stereotype for all women.”
Now, she’s working to break biases for herself and others to show Latinas their power and potential.
Alice Rodriguez is a Consumer Bank Senior Advisor and has also served on numerous boards. Currently she is the Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
With over 30 years of extensive banking experience at JP Morgan Chase and positions in business banking, consumer banking, Alice Rodriguez serves a leading role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategies.
As a Latina leader, she has also faced many obstacles throughout her career. She shared some of her story with Latinas in Business last year as a Keynote Speaker at our annual Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (WEES).
“Behind every great woman there is another great woman,” Alice said. Alice’s great “sheroe” was her mother, Alicia Nuñez Ramírez who had the most impact on her life.
Growing up, Alice saw how her mother overcame a lot of adversity. “She had this very strong ability to never get flustered, which I learned from her and I believe she was completely ahead of her time. She was a strong independent Latina that just did not take a no for an answer and I recognize that I stand on her shoulder. She came here with a middle school education and it didn’t stop her from learning. She taught me everything, how important family is, values, faith, how to create your own success and take a risk. She was always figuring out how to get over those barriers.”
Today, Alice continues to eliminate those barriers through her work as a leader and executive and industry.
After only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre was appointed Metallix Refining Inc. President. Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President.
As President, Maria brought to the position a sense of humility that transcends not just gender but embraces a new generation of values, of learning and reward based on individual merit, with the only limits being those you set yourself.
“As an immigrant to the US, I know only too well the challenges we all will encounter, especially for minority groups. The road will not always be smooth, and regardless of your cultural background, you should believe in yourself, your self-worth, your ability to succeed and that your qualities will always shine through to achieve rewards.”
As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria has witnessed and experienced many changes over the last 12 years and has been influential to many changes herself.
You might be interested: 6 Ways men can be better allies to Latinas in the workplace
Maria continues to break biases in her industry by creating a work culture that is free from gender discrimination. Through Maria’s values, Metallix is a multicultural employer with promotions based on ability, not gender, and an environment where there is no place for discrimination or bullying.
Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can break the bias in our communities. We can break the bias in our workplaces. We can break the bias in our schools, colleges and universities. Together, we can all break the bias – and create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive world.
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