This week’s column is a nod to our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month series this week and throughout the month.
Latinas at the highest echelons are still underrepresented but we wanted to spotlight the top Latina leaders in business show you the Latina professionals that are making it happen. The future is now, progress is being made and more Latina women are running companies and raising capital for entrepreneurial ventures than before.
Career advice for Latina women may seem on the surface to be the same as for advice for any other woman from any other background. Why? Because it is only by varying degrees of believing and adhering to the patriarchy as an operating system, that makes each woman who is reading this abide or dissent from the cultural norms and gender roles they are messaged from birth.
If you are messaged values of a collectivist society versus those of an individualist society, you may show common traits. This is a more accurate way of actually having a career conversation about the context in which a person is operating in also, because the term “Hispanic” is perhaps something that is so inaccurate and unfair since it assumes that all Spanish-speaking people from over a dozen countries are the same, yet it equally assumes that all English-speaking people are not the same. That is an uneven start and can lead to greater stereotyping.
Beneath the surface, career advice could differ greatly for aspiring Latina leaders, because going against the grain is easier said than done in families and firms alike. This is where collectivism as a theory meets the reality of living in an individualistic culture.
Also, everyone has different personalities and value sets so many women do want to care-take more and play a larger family role, but to reduce it to a binary is a problem. And, many (not all) Latina women are faced with this binary in choosing to comply or dissent against the gender roles set, and dissent against the historical family structure expectations.
My advice is let’s start asking what each individual woman wants, instead of assuming we know that their social identity is all that they are (ditto anyone else for that matter.)
If you are a Latina, a constant strategy is to individuate yourself as a person to remind people who you are and what you want and what you are capable of, not who they think you are!