It is clear that Latinas have become a force to be reckoned with in all areas. But this achievement has not come for free — it has involved arduous efforts and what seems like an eternal swim against the tide.
As women and from an ethnic demographic, the disproportionate impact of social crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the multiple layers of Latinas’ experience in the professional world.
For women’s leadership speaker and author of the award-winning book Pushback: How Smart Women Ask – And Stand Up – for What They Want (2012), Selena Rezvani, a fundamental aspect of this experience is corporate culture.
“For an organization to elevate Latinas at work, they must take a deep look into their processes and policies,” Rezvani explained in a column for NBC News. “During a time when racial tensions are high, many organizations appear to be ‘fixing’ issues on the surface level — saying they care equality and inclusion — but they aren’t taking concrete steps to fix the core issues.”
Citing the research and advisory organization Catalyst, Rezvani recommends the following to companies:
- Understand the business case. Ensure executives clearly understand the business case for recruiting, retaining, and advancing Latinas at work.
- Be aware of diversity. Try to get to know everyone who reports to you on a personal level. This will help eliminate biases and generalizations about individuals who belong to certain groups.
- Recognize accomplishments. Talented employees should be celebrated. When successful individuals are given viability, they will have more opportunities for advancement.
- In addition to Catalyst’s suggestions, organizations must examine the income rates of their Latina employees and how they compare to that of white men. Then make adjustments for parity.
In addition to Catalyst’s suggestions, Selena Rezvani recommends that organizations should examine the earnings rates of their Latina employees and how they compare to those of white men. And then make adjustments to achieve parity.
Finally, and recalling one of the most serious impacts of the pandemic on Latinas’ lives, the author insists that organizations must recognize the importance of family for Latinas.
“Family is of utmost importance in Latina culture and women are traditionally expected to be caregivers for their children and their parents as they age,” Rezvani explains, “To meet mothers where they are, it’s important that organizations provide access to affordable childcare, allow their employees to integrate family into work-life where possible, and offer flexible work options (remote work, flexible hours). This will allow Latinas — and all other employees — to give care and attention to their work and home lives.”
The author’s thesis is to focus and analyze in-depth how organizational processes and policies can hinder Latinas.
“Let’s stop asking Latinas to check their identity at the door. And let’s start celebrating what they bring to the table,” she concludes.