Latinas in the workplace


How does it feel to be a Latina in the workplace? Is there any difference between you and another woman that’s not Latina? Is there a difference between skin color and knowledge?

These are some of the questions some of us may ask ourselves. It’s hard for woman to get the right recognition she needs, let alone being a Latina.

Having a degree and not having one makes a difference in the workplace. Latinas are never seen on the same level with other women, let alone white women. With a degree you feel powerful, accomplishment, and excitement. However, once you begin your desired job, you may experience feelings of self doubt. Males tend to be the dominant figures in most job positions. This results in women being seen as general laborers and not leaders.s Latinas tend to put themselves out there to try and reach their accomplishment but it’s always put aside either by another woman of color or a male.

Being Latina and not having a degree can be more stressful than anything. You want to find a good job. You may want to see how far you can rank up and prove to people that you can do the best you can. Being shut down by other women and men can be devastating.

We’re addressing these issues because we are Latinas that are in college and wanting to work our dream jobs without being pushed around. Addressing these issues can mean a more comfortable workplace for Latinas and women in general. We want to be proud of ourselves in our job, we want to make it to the top ranks, and eliminate obstacles in our way to getting there.

The same could go for women without a degree. They are more abused than us because they don’t have the “knowledge” that woman with a degree does. We acknowledge that women without degrees are equally as capable and smart. Not having a degree in this society, could make them feel like they could never reach the top and push past anything. We wondered why as Latinas we have to prove ourselves, work harder to get noticed, and put in extra effort for someone to give us credit. Why can’t it come natural to someone to see how much work we have put into everything we do?

This project is going to address the history labor from Latina women with and without a degree, how we are going to prove that myths about us aren’t real and we are the hard-working Latinas we have always been.

History Analysis:

Throughout many decades women had fewer rights and career opportunities than men. When people thought of jobs for women the only ones that came to mind were wifehood and motherhood.Often times, these were women’s most significant professions. In the 19th century the only acceptable occupations for women were limited to domestic work and factory work; women were excluded from many professions. One other thing that changed the roles of women was World War II when the war was happening, all the men were being drafted.  After the men left to fight in the war, the workforce’s only option was to hire women. Women also contributed to the war effort. This period began to challenge social norms and the views on women as a sex. Enlisted women performed jobs that included nursing, Marine Corps Women’s Reserves and even pilots! This event was the impactufl for females that ending up transforming the United States as a nation. The 1960’s feminist movement also drastically changed things.. The movement’s main focus was dismantling the workplace inequality, such as denial of access to better jobs and salary inequity.

      Things change a little when we start to talk about Latinas in the workplace. Latinas face a lot of sexist issues that stem from patriarchal norms.  Until this day, there’s Latinos that think that Latinas should only be stay at home moms and belong in the kitchen. Machismo—a cultural aspect where males are thought to dominant, being responsible for protecting and providing for the family while the women are supposed to be nurturing—is very common in Latino society. It’s a hard norm to get out of for many. Fortunately many Hispanics have stopped this very antique way of thinking. It wasn’t that Hispanic women weren’t allowed to work or contribute to their families; it was just the norm for them to perform domestic duties.

It wasn’t acceptable for Latinas to work until they were seen migrating and working in the United States. Many Hispanics realized that life in the United States was very different than in their home countries. In many cases, both husbands and wives need to work in order to financially support their families. While husbands are now more supportive of Latina workers, they still have to deal with heavy discrimination in the workplace. For example, things only become tougher for minority women compared to a white women when dealing with competitive wages. If a white woman still has trouble getting the same wages as a man doing the same job, it’s even harder for a Latina to fight for equal wages.  Jessica Oyoque, a Latina with experience in the formal work place, thinks, “it’s super unfair that women have to work way harder to get noticed, but we’re not getting that in terms of consumption especially Latina women, we’re at the bottom of the wage gap.”

Scholarship shows that “Latinas employed full-time, year-round, must work almost two years to earn what white men earn in just one.” (Marchevsky) This wage gap is a national problem that needs to be changed. Not only for Latinas in the workplace, but for every woman in the workforce. Men are still being seen as a higher sense of authority, but it’s views like this that can make a significant difference. Women are capable of doing jobs at the same quality of men.



Interviewee: Jessica Oyoque Is a current employe at MSS(Migrant Student Services) here in Michigan State. Working as the advisor for MSS, has a Bachelor from Texas State University and a Masters from Michigan State University.

Interviewee: Maribel Ramirez is a current LCC student and a full-time customer service representative for a mortgage bank.

Issues and Solutions:

Education: In 2012,11.2% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering were awarded to minority women. This is a ridiculously low number that needs to increase significantly if women are to be taken seriously in the workplace. The current stereotype–which we will further discuss in a bit–is that women don’t like science, when in fact, in early education (K-12th grade) females tend to have higher grades than males. What typically happens is that the stereotype of “women not liking science” comes into effect and teachers tend not to encourage minority women into the field, at least not as much as they encourage men.

  • Solution: Empowering women at an early age. By encouraging young Latinas to pursue a career in the STEM field (or any other higher education field) it will promote higher learning and a higher graduation rate. As a result, creating a stronger workforce composed of Latina women.

Motherly figure: Work is considered a second home, and what would be home without a mom? Women in the workplace are often seen as the office mom. The reason for this is because like in a home the father would be considered the boss, whereas the mom is the loving and caring figure who will do the hard work without receiving a thank you or the label of the boss. This mentality causes a lot of women to become submissive and expected to say yes to any additional work. For instance, who is most likely to bring a homemade dish to the office potluck, a Latina women or a white male? Creating this atmosphere of under appreciation causes women to try and go above and beyond, just to be respected.

  • Solution: Promote hard work and longevity rather than gender. This solution is a lot easier said than done because a Latina women in a position of authority will be seen as “an angry bitchy Latina,” rather than an assertive white male. This phenomenon is also known as the glass ceiling effect. The glass ceiling effect means that women believe that through hard work they will receive a promotion, when in fact all their hard work is taken for granted.

Stereotyping: Studies have shown that a Latina women in the workplace surrounded by white people is more likely to quit than when there are other minorities within the workplace. The reason for this is because her minority status is more prevalent than any other label, recognition, or credibility she has in her field. Although there may be no malicious discrimination, the sensation of not fitting in is still prevalent in the workplace.

  • Solution: Making the workplace more diverse. By doing this all labels of race and ethnicity statuses will be more of an even playing field for a Latina woman and encourage entry level Latinas to strive for a higher position.



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