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Why Being Latina in Corporate America Is So Much Harder Than You Think

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Businesswoman looking tired in front of computerUSA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Businesswoman looking tired in front of computer

We’re often told to be “authentic” at work. But what if being your true self puts you at a disadvantage?

That’s the question that Latinas struggle with every day, according to Latina@Work, a study released Monday by People en Español and Lieberman Research Worldwide.

Even though the vast majority (80%) of Latinas say that they want to be seen as who they really are at work, they tend to play down their accents and play up their collegiate backgrounds, according to the research. One of the key findings of the study—which included qualitative interviews as well as a quantitative survey of 1,000 women between the ages of 25 and 54—was that women with Hispanic backgrounds are wary of appearing “too Latina” at work.

As a result, Latinas are more likely than their white counterparts to believe they must dress more conservatively in order to be taken seriously (31% vs. 21%) and that wearing their natural hair at work will be seen as unprofessional (34% vs. 23%).

“Our Latina@Work study highlights new insights depicting the struggle faced by today’s Latinas as they battle disparate perceptions, overwhelming stereotypes and pre-conceived notions in a corporate environment,” said People en Español brand sales director Monique Manso in a statement.

 

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And if constantly worrying about their accent and appearance weren’t enough, Latinas also believe that they have to work harder than those around them. The Hispanic women surveyed were more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic women to agree with the statement, “I have to work twice as hard as my co-workers because of my cultural background.”