Latinas are a powerhouse population both as entrepreneurs and in the workplace, yet continue to be underrepresented in higher leadership roles in Corporate America.
According to the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), Latinas are the fastest growing sector of the entrepreneurial market, yet remain underpaid and underrepresented at all stages of the career pipeline. Currently, Latinas account for less than 2% of executives and hold less than 3% of all corporate board seats.
Additionally, Latinas 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, and the longstanding pay disparities Latinas face have only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Women of color across the board were disproportionately affected during the pandemic, with Black and Latina women suffering the greatest job losses, with many working in some of the hardest-hit industries such as hospitality, healthcare, and service. Women of color were also more likely to leave their jobs to take on caregiving responsibilities for their children and family members.
With these unique challenges facing Latina women across all levels of industry, it’s important that employers implement methods and resources to better support their Latina employees and be better allies to this diverse group of women.
How to be a better support Latinas and minority women in the workplace
In an MSNBC article highlighting the Latina experience in the workplace, one of the key issues they face in the workplace is the pressure to mask their identity as Latinas and conform to traditionally white, male standards to fit in and be taken seriously in executive positions.
Many Latinas feel they cannot be themselves in the workplace and must “check their identity at the door.”
NextUP found four key aspects of the Latina experience that hinder success at work and that employers can address in the workplace to create a more inclusive environment:
Bias: Latina women say they are held back by assumptions and stereotypes that their cultural identifiers indicate a lack of intelligence, or they aren’t interested in advancing their career.
Combating these biases in the workplace will help to advance and promote Latinas to higher level roles in the workplace. Employers should create a space that is open to diversity and different points of views. Global teams need diverse employees
Social collateral: Many Latinas have a natural respect for authority, due to their upbringing. This can make it challenging for Latinas to ask for credit when 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.
You might be interested: 4 Tips for Latina and minority women on setting boundaries in the workplace
The corporate script: Latinas often feel as though they have to hide their accent and alter their natural persona (code switch) to fit in and be respected at work.
Employers can combat this challenge by creating a diverse and inclusive environment that celebrates all identities and cultures. Creating diverse teams with people of different backgrounds and ethnicities will help combat the traditional, ingrained script of what Corporate America “should” look like and remind Latinas that there is no mold to fit into when it comes to being a leader.
Emotional intelligence: Many Latinas believe they have emotional intelligence, but that it is questioned at work.
Employers can better support their Latina employees by dismantling preconceived notions about Latina women and creating an environment with open communication and equal respect.
Supporting Latinas and minority women in the workplace is crucial for advancing their success and keeping women in the workforce post-COVID. With so many women forced out of jobs in recent years, supporting minority women in the workplace is more important that ever. Employers, companies, and organizations need to continue to create inclusive and diverse spaces where Latinas and other women can thrive.
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