Latinas in California Continue to Be Discriminated Against in Leadership Positions

Latina Executives BELatina Latinx

How many times have you heard that Latinos are the fastest growing community in the country? How many times have we repeated the important impact that Latinas have on the job market?

While political candidates fight for the support of the Hispanic vote in the run-up to the presidential election,the barriers of discrimination and career displacement continue to persist for the Latinx community.

The latest paradox in this bias was reported by the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA), which announced last Tuesday that: “following a review of Equilar data of women appointed to California public company boards, Latinas make up only 3.3% of women appointed to boards.”

Despite the implementation of SB 826 — a law mandating that California-based domestic and foreign public companies have at least one woman in management and board positions — of the 511 seats held by women on California’s boards, LCDA found that “only 17 board seats are held by U.S. Latinas, the lowest number of any minority, in a state where the Latino population is more than 39%.”

This is yet another example of the double bias Latinas experience in the country: one by their race and one by their gender.

As California LCDA Member and Former Secretary of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, said: “Collecting resumes, without a commitment to diversity, will not change the color of California boardrooms. It’s past time that Latinas had a seat at the table. There is an ample supply of qualified and experienced Latina directors and C-level Latinas from an array of industry sectors. Companies must be committed to diversifying their boardrooms.”

“The research is overwhelming, including a recent McKinsey study that shows, at the board of directors’ level, more ethnically and culturally diverse companies achieve above-average profits,” she added. “There is a strong correlation between diversity and corporate performance.”

According to Catalyst’s projections, by 2060, the proportion of American women who will be of color will rise to more than half, making them not only a booming demographic but also a driving force in the economy.

However, as the nonprofit explains, women of color are currently “severely underrepresented,” with only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 board seats. While white men hold two-thirds of board seats, white women — already a minority — “hold nearly four times as many seats as women of color.”

“California lawmakers and corporate America must understand that gender diversity is not enough. An all-white male and female board of directors is not diverse. Board composition that lacks Latinos, is not reflective of California diversity,” stated Linda Griego, Former Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles and LCDA Member. “California Latinos are an economic powerhouse driving growth in every sector of our state’s economy and we should be represented on every public company board in California.”