Posts

6 Ways men can be better allies to Latinas in the workplace

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) throughout COVID-19 than other demographics of women and men. 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. 

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.

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.

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. 

Celebrate the dads in your life this Father’s Day!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

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. 

You might be interested: 4 Tips for Latina and minority women on setting boundaries 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. 


*This article contains affiliated links. If you use these links to buy an item, we may earn a small commission.

Combating the damaging health effects of marianismo on Latinas in the workplace 

Cultural stereotypes and expectations can create barriers and lead to real health concerns for Latinas in the workplace. Marianismo is one of the primary cultural stereotypes that Latinas face, characterized by an idealized traditional feminine gender role that expects women to be submissive, selfless, and hyperfeminine. These rigid expectations can be overwhelming and create more workplace stress when Latinas do not fit the mold. 

Many Latinas in the workplace report feeling as though they are holding themselves back to fit into company cultures that are usually defined by traditionally masculine standards. One study found that 53% of Latinas reported that their workplace personas were defined by conforming to traditionally male standards. 

Machismo is the counter-side to marianismo and is characterized by male behavior that is strong, forecul, and dominating. When Latina women are in traditionally masuline spaces, they are expected to submit and follow, not lead. This can be challenging for women trying to get ahead and rise up to leadership positions in male-dominated workplaces. 

In a study 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. 

Listen to new titles by your favorite Latinas today on Audible! 

Negative health consequences of marianismo and cultural stereotypes 

For many Latinas, the stress to conform to cultural stereotypes such as marianismo can lead to chronic stress and burnout. 

Burnout is categorized as an occupational syndrome, “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Burnout can effect Latinas in industries that promote a capitalist culture of constant productivity, with little regard for one’s mental and emotional boundaries

Due to stereotypes, many Latinas might feel expected to take on more responsibilities than their other team members. (Photo source:  freepik – www.freepik.com)

In workplace environments like this, Latinas might be expected to shoulder larger workloads with little to no extra compensation. Because cultural expectations, such as marianismo, believe women should be “self-sacrificing” and take care of others, many Latinas might be expected to take on more responsibilities than their other team members. 

Many Latinas have also been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, taking on greater caretaking responsibilities, losing jobs, and struggling financially. These factors can also put pressure on Latinas in the workplace to take on more work and ask for little in return for fear of losing the stability of a job and paycheck. 

You might be interested: 4 Tips for Latina and minority women on setting boundaries in the workplace

If unchecked, chronic stress and burnout can lead to health issues such as depression, anxiety, anger, and cynical hostility, adversely influencing cardiometabolic health. One study on Machismo, Marianismo, and Negative Cognitive-Emotional Factors found that  Hispanics—the largest U.S. ethnic minority group —are more likely to meet criteria for major depression than non-Hispanic Whites and are also more likely overall to develop diabetes and heart disease. Chronic stress is a contributing factor to the development of these health issues. 

Pushing back against cultural stereotypes can be difficult and daunting, but it is necessary to advocate for oneself and for other Latinas in the workplace. When left unchecked, chronic stress can lead to many negative health consequences that no one should have to face. Setting healthy boundaries and speaking up against biases and unfair treatment is crucial to establishing a positive workplace environment for all. 


*This article contains affiliated links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

latinas in the workplace

How your employer can better support Latina and minority women in the workplace

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. 

Listen to books by your favorite Latina authors on Audible today! 

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. 


*This article contains affiliated links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission.

Stacie de Armas on breaking stereotypes and advocating for Latinas

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. 

Breaking stereotypes and advocating for equity

Stacie de Armas describes herself as “a Latina, a Cubana, a daughter, granddaughter, a sister, a tia, a mother, a seeker, and a teller of truth, ” and 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 breaking stereotypes for herself and others to show Latinas their power and potential. Looking back on her career, she notes a strong common thread of a passion for equity that has woven through all her experiences. 

“From the outside, my career seems like a series of opportunities that built on previous ones, but upon closer evaluation, you can see early signs of my passion for equity. At the time, however,  I didn’t quite see it like that. I thought all the advances I made were happenstance or serendipitous,” says Stacie. 

In one of her earliest working experiences, Stacie worked as a waitress throughout college. She was one of the few waitresses who spoke Spanish and soon formed fond friendships with the back-of-the-house staff. 

“I felt aligned and had common experiences with our Spanish-speaking team, and I really enjoyed those friendships. They were authentic. I felt like I belonged with them, and we had shared backgrounds,” Stacie says. “I found myself advocating for them in small ways.  As it happened, I saw early on there was inequity in how they were treated, and I found it hard to stand by and watch it unfold.”   

Later in college, Stacie began working at a bank, where she quickly fell into a role where she supported Latino clients. Again, because of her Latina background and ability to speak Spanish, Stacie found herself advocating for them. She transitioned from bank teller to supporting loan signings and new accounts, explaining the various documents that were not in Spanish at the time. Rather than just filling quotas, Stacie worked to help her Latino clients learn the inner workings of the U.S. banking system. 

advocacy for Latinos, breaking stereotypes, Stacie de Armas

On breaking stereotypes: “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.” (Photo courtesy Stacie de Armas)

“Naturally, I focused on this client base and found ways to meet their current needs without exorbitant fees. My clients would bring their friends and family, and others to bank with me. It was such an honor at the time, and I felt mutual respect.” 

After college, Stacie moved on from banking to work at an ad agency. Again, a similar situation presented itself. 

“I was an assistant buyer, and we worked primarily in English-speaking markets, but we did handle some Spanish language broadcast and cable network advertising buying for a few clients.  I noticed we didn’t have a good understanding of the offerings, the audience, or the value of the outlets we worked with. Our conversations and negotiations with our English language broadcasters were more detailed. The data was there, but evaluating our Spanish Language networks wasn’t a priority,” Stacie explains. 

So Stacie took the initiative and asked to focus on the Spanish market. She then began meeting with the agency’s Spanish language media companies and advocating for a new strategy that had more equity for Spanish media companies. And from there, she began handling most of the agency’s Spanish language buying and planning. 

“And so the story goes,” she says. “ Everywhere I ever went, as a white presenting Latina, I felt an obligation to stand with, beside, and for my comunidad. And it shone through in my work. My career grew in the space of consumer advocacy, specifically for the Latino consumer.  This passion for equity had presented itself early in my life, and I have carried it with me throughout my career.”  

You might be interested: A National Conversation with Latina Leaders to address Latina Small Business recovery in Post-Covid19 economic crisis

Be bold and do not let yourself be ignored

Now, Stacie is committed to breaking down barriers for other Latinas and empowering them to break through stereotypes, as she did, and made their dreams a reality. 

To other aspiring Latina professionals, Stacie says her best advice is to be bold. 

“I think we are often not taught about the value of being bold.  We confuse being bold for being aggressive. Being bold is assertive but not aggressive. It is a learned skill. The advantage of being bold is you don’t have to bring it up again,” she says. “My strengths are my bold but kind approach, empathy, and listening. They have served me throughout my career and allowed me to grow and serve.”  

advocacy for Latinos, breaking stereotypes

“We confuse being bold for being aggressive. Being bold is assertive, but not aggressive. It is a learned skill.” (Photo courtesy Stacie de Armas)

Look beyond your core experience and follow your passion

Another important lesson learned along the way is: Look beyond your core experience for professional involvement and follow your passion.

“When Nielsen acquired Arbitron in 2013, I was given the opportunity to stay on the commercial side of the business or grow my career in an area of community outreach and advocacy,” says Stacie. 

Until then, Stacie had focused mostly on the US Hispanic consumer, working specifically with ad agencies and radio stations to help them craft and shape their narratives to serve the Hispanic communities better. She had no real experience in grassroots community outreach and advocacy though she figured she could pivot her business advocacy skills for consumers into community advocacy. 

“Even though my heart was on the commercial side, I decided to accept the position in the community and consumer outreach group and extend my experiences.  I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be by far the most significant career-impacting decision that I would ever make,” says Stacie. “I never anticipated how my passion for diversity business issues would flourish or the professional opportunities that I would have as a result.” 

Throughout her career, she has faced some obstacles, one of which was the challenge of imparting her passion for and value of the community to those in decision-making roles. She found that oftentimes her passion was not transferable or understandable. However, data is universal and hard to refute. 

“Supporting your story, advocacy, or plan with data is paramount and makes your point unignorable.” 

So go out there and be bold, assertive, and passionate about your story, project, or mission. Make things happen, and don’t let limiting stereotypes stop you from reaching your highest potential.