How can Latinas Support other Women at Work?
Today is Women’s Equality Day in which we commemorate a very important event in American history-the 1920 adoption of The Nineteenth Amendment which prohibited states and federal governments from denying voting rights based upon sex. This day provides an opportunity for us as Latinas, to take stock of our progress and push forward with renewed determination! It is also important that we support other women at work to protect gender equity.
Many female employees are facing financial insecurity, along with increased burdens on parents and caregivers. Without additional resources, it’s easy to burn out. Here are some ways that we as Latinas can support each other and other women at work.
A study by Harvard Business Review found that both male and female executives were likely to have a diverse network of well-connected peers. However, women seeking greater authority and higher pay also needed an inner circle of close female peers.
Keep these strategies in mind:
- Focus on giving. Professional networks and personal amistades depend on helping others. Reach out and share your time and expertise. Perform random acts of kindness and build mutual support.
- Be selective. The quality of your friendships matters more than the quantity. Find other women who share your values and interests. Move on if someone consistently turns down your invitations to get together or fails to respect your boundaries.
- Pace yourself. Healthy reciprocal relationships take time to blossom. Be patient. Get to know each other gradually.
- Have fun. Friends see each other outside of the office and talk about stuff besides spreadsheets and coding. Host parties and organize outings. Take a vacation or bake cookies together.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Women continue to bear responsibility for most of the work at home and this is true for Latinas, especially single moms. The American Psychological Association warns that this causes stress and other health issues and lowers productivity.
Try these techniques to enhance work-life balance:
- Suggest flexible hours. One upside of the pandemic has been a big increase in the opportunities for remote work. Maybe supervisors at your company are willing to experiment with alternative schedules as long as employees complete their responsibilities.
- Examine benefits. Let your employer know what wellness benefits matter to you and other mujeres in your office. Maybe you’d rather have free day care instead of playrooms or fancy espresso machines.
- Review workloads. Are your performance reviews based on realistic expectations? Discuss the situation with your colleagues to see if adjustments are needed.
- Take time off. Research shows that excessive overtime and unused vacation days lower productivity. Set an example by leaving the office at a reasonable hour and taking advantage of your annual leave.
Develop Leadership Skills
Women at the top are struggling too. The McKinsey report also describes Onlys: women who are the only or one of the only women at their level in the workplace. They’re more likely to feel pressure to work more and face a variety of microaggressions. This can be true for Latinas and any other groups who have been historically discriminated against by society at large.
These strategies can help:
- Support mentoring. Depending on what stage your career is at, you can look to other women to mentor you or become a mentor to other mujeres. You might even do both. These relationships provide guidance and build community.
- Advocate for others. Even if your company culture tolerates bullying other women, break the cycle. Have the courage and compassion to provide constructive feedback and help other women advance in their careers. Many of us have experience of other women treating us as competition rather than colleagues. We don’t need to step on other women to get ahead.
- Network with women. Join a professional group for women or start one of your own. Mingle with other women when you attend conferences and follow up with new acquaintances.
- Make referrals. One of the most effective ways to help other women is to make introductions and referrals to others in your profession. Bring others together to find new partners, clients, and friends. If you have a colega who is a consultant, refer them to other business colleagues or those looking for their particular services. We can support each other and our passions!
One woman’s success can benefit others too. Let’s work together to create an environment that maximizes and celebrates each other’s accomplishments.
Dr. Patty Jiménez is the Founder of Recetas. She obtained 2 Masters in Theology and Ministry and a Doctorate in Ministry specializing in Latinx theology and ministry. She has over 27 years experience in Catholic Ministry and is a spiritual director and training as a wellness coach.