Meet the 21st Century American Latina
Today’s Latina has undergone a major transformation. She doesn’t emulate her mother or grandmother (or even her cool tía). Instead, today’s millennial Latinas are embracing a generational, political and cultural shift that is changing the way they see themselves and the world around them. They are not conforming to cultural customs and gender roles as strictly as they once did, and they look to their Latino heritage to enhance their lives. Being Latino is viewed as an asset at home and at work.
The evolving beliefs and behaviors of Latinas were captured in a recent study by People en Español in which 989 Latinas were surveyed, along with 506 non-Hispanic women, from the ages of 18 to 64. The study compared Latinas to their non-Hispanic counterparts in terms of the importance of tradition, motherhood, bilingualism, family, and work, as well as the struggles they face in their daily lives.
Here are some of the highlights from People En Español's "HOT Study: A Cultural Re:Evolution"
Despite some setbacks, Latinas are confident at work
The study revealed that 86 percent of Latinas feel good about themselves at work in comparison to 77 percent of non-Hispanic women. Furthermore, 78 percent of working Latinas feel food about their future at their current company in contrast to only 66 percent of non-Hispanic work women. Yet, 41 percent of Latinas say sexual harrassment is a serious issue in the workplace.
Today's Latina values her heritage, even within the workplace. Nearly 90 percent of working millennial Latinas say they want to be seen for who they really are, including being a Latina. 70 percent of working Latinas believe their heritage is an asset in the workplace.
While Latinas are confident about their role in the workplace, 49 percent of working Latinas feeling they are underpaid.
Marriage and children are still a priority
Latina millennials are getting married and having children in greater numbers than their non-hispanic counterparts. More than 40 percent of Latina millennials are married and have children under the age of 18. Meanwhile, only 23 percent of non-Hispanic millennial women are married and 25 percent have children under 18.
Motherhood on their own terms
Latinas say they are raising their kids differently than their moms. Nearly 70 percent of Latinas say their approach to motherhood differs from their own mothers in comparison to 58 percent of non-Hispanic mothers. Meanwhile, 50 percent of Latina millennial moms say they give their kids the freedom to develop their own characters.
They are getting degrees
Latinas today are finding more opportunities to create a path for themselves in higher education in comparison to previous generations. In fact, 53 percent of Latina millennials say they are the first in their families to go to college in contrast to only 33 percent of non-Hispanic millennials.
They are prioritizing self-care
Latinas today are taking time for themselves, even amid the demands of work and family. In fact, 54 percent of Latina moms say taking time out for themselves makes them better mothers.
Latinas still stress about finances
Financial worry is the top stressor for Latinas today with 38 percent calling it a central concern. Hence, Latinas today often look for second sources of income and financial advisors to help them foster their economic well-being.
Cultural expectations still pressure her
Almost 70 percent of working Latinas feel pressured by cultural norms and expectations rooted in their heritage, such as a set timeline for getting married and having children. Meanwhile, 55 percent of Latina millennial moms feel the pressure to evenly balance everything — motherhood, marriage and work. Moreover, 7 out of 10 Latina moms say they want to be seen as a well-rounded woman who is also a good mother. Historically, being seen as a good mother trumped everything else.
Culture and heritage are still part of her DNA
Latinas today recognize the value of family and heritage, even while attempting to follow their own paths. 74 percent of Latina millennial moms say it’s important to live near or with extended family. They are also raising bicultural kids with 70 percent of Latina moms believing that it's crucial to teach their kids to speak Spanish and 74 percent of Latina millennial moms saying raising bicultural kids gives them an advantage in the world.
She sees herself as a bicultural individual
Latinas value their heritage at home and work, while recognizing —and prizing — the duality of their identities. Almost 72 percent of the Hispanic women surveyed say they think of themselves as bicultural, while 68 percent describe themselves as Latinas.
Still, the stereotypes about Latinas continue to be a struggle. More than 50 percent of Latinas say they are seen as "feminine", in comparison to only 39 percent of non-Hispanic white women.