In most industries, men still hold more leadership positions, privileges, and power. Men can help close these disparities by being advocates and allies to Latinas in the workplace. The first step is to acknowledge there is a problem.
Latinas have faced a steeper decline in employment (‑21 percent) since COVID-19, more than other demographics of women and men. Latinas also still have the lowest earnings of any major race or ethnicity and gender group, earning on average, 43% less than white men and 28% less than white women. As of today, Latinas earn on average only 55 cents to the dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This wage gap has hardly moved in over 30 years.
Additionally, many Latinas feel they cannot be authentic in the workplace with 77 percent of Latinos reporting they feel the need to repress parts of their identity to be taken seriously and respected.
Male allies can help to dismantle these barriers and create an equal and inclusive environment by advocating for Latinas and using their privileges and power to make room for others at the table. A good ally is marked by action, not just words.
6 Tips for men to become better allies to Latinas at work
Ask Latinas specifically how you can help them within the workplace. Simply reaching out to know what Latinas need can go a long way. Are they seeking sponsorship or mentorship? More learning opportunities or resources? Knowing what the Latinas in your workplace need to succeed is the first step to helping and becoming a better ally and advocate.
Speak up and “call out” other people if you see them abusing their power. As an ally you can help Latinas by speaking up and challenging those who discriminate and abuse their power. Many Latinas struggle to speak up against microaggressions and abuse of power because of fear of consequences, such as losing their position or facing greater injustices. Additionally, cultural stereotypes like marianismo place expectations on Latinas to be meek and submissive. By standing with your Latina colleagues you can help strengthen their voices and empower them through solidarity.
Step back to make space for other voices. Men can be better allies to Latinas in the workplace by making space for their voices and perspectives, especially in male-dominated industries. By taking a step back and taking up less space in meetings and gatherings, men can give others a chance to speak and present their ideas, perspectives, and unique knowledge. In culturally diverse workplaces and global companies, diverse perspectives are crucial to reaching diverse audiences.
Advocate for benefits and take parental leave. During the pandemic Latinas faced greater unemployment than other demographics and many were forced out of the workplace to assume caretaking responsibilities. This issue is widespread among women in general too, where many must make difficult decisions between being a caretaker or having a career. Men can support women and Latinas in the workplace by advocating for better benefits for parental leave and paid time off. Additionally, men can choose to take parental leave and work to break the assumption that only women can stay home and assume caretaking responsibilities.
Be transparent and mindful in your communication. Keeping lines of communication open with the women in your workplace, especially if you are in a leadership role, will help ensure the women in your workplace are included and informed about important decisions, tasks, and updates. Additionally, being mindful of how one communicates, biases that may accidentally work their way into communications, and combating those assumptions and stereotypes. Be mindful of how words can impact others and encourage others to speak up when you make mistakes. Open dialogues based on mutual respect will help foster a positive workplace environment for everyone.
Give credit where credit is due. Many Latinas have a natural respect for authority, due to their cultural upbringing. This can make it challenging for Latinas to ask for credit where credit is due. Creating a space where all work and contributions are valued and proper credit is given will help to support Latinas in the workplace. Fostering an environment where Latinas feel comfortable to speak up, set boundaries, and communicate their needs is crucial to being a better ally to Latinas in the workplace.
Being good allies to Latinas in the workplace starts with action. Take some time to reflect on ways you can use your position to uplift the voices of others and dismantle unfair biases and stereotypes to foster an equal and inclusive environment for everyone.
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