The impact of Hispanic business in the economic landscape of the United States has been traditionally associated with the efforts of families who often send out their men to join the workforce or support them to become entrepreneurs. The landscape is changing, however, and Latinas are following a socioeconomic trend that has been sweeping the country over the last few years: Women are increasingly taking many top positions in the American workplace, from management to professional roles.
Esther Elena López-Mulnix is a psychologist, consultant, academic journal editor, and author of Latinas in the Workplace: An Emerging Leadership Force. In her book, Ms. López-Mulnix takes a look at the success of eight Hispanic women who have climbed the corporate and business ladder and the challenges they overcame on their way to the top. These women are CEOs, teachers, doctors, and superintendents of school districts.
Ms. López-Mulnix and her co-authors Mimi Wolverton and Salwa A. Zaki found that the challenges that Latinas face as they take on the professional realm in the U.S. are unique. One of these challenges is the socialization process; our tendency to think of Hispanic women as filling service roles like maids, waitresses, seamstresses, etc. Latinas who take on business leadership roles are often met with reactions of surprise, even within the world of Hispanic business.
Gender and ethnicity discrimination issues still disrupt the ascent of Latina businesswomen, but they deal with such issues by drawing strength from their cultural and religious traditions, which make them aspire to care for their immediate and extended families as well as for their communities. They see themselves as innovators in the realm of Hispanic business, and they are very likely to serve as mentors to young hopefuls who wish to become business leaders.
Commit to passion and education
Ms. López-Mulnix thinks that the best advice for young Hispanic women who want to become successful professionals and entrepreneurs is to fully commit themselves to their passion and education. More women in the U.S. are graduating from universities, which means that young Latinas are bound to encounter plenty of competition once they enter the workforce. To this end, Ms. López-Mulnix recommend that women should fully apply their passion and talents to their careers in order to stay ahead of the competition.