Latinas & Power® Symposium Stress Need to Come Together on a National Level to Share elements of Leadership
By Marilyn Alverio
One in five women in the U.S. is Latina. One in four female students in public schools across the nation is Latina. In the very near future, Latinas will form almost a third of the female population. And, unless we take action now, these women and girls will continue to fall through the cracks.
Once I understood the great significance of our role as Latinas in this country, I had to take action. In 2004, I founded Latinas & Power Symposium because the future of our nation is very much tied to the future of Latinas. I knew positive change could only happen if we make it happen. And, for 13 years, we have made it work, helping thousands of Latina professionals to focus on skills building, strategies for success, entrepreneurship and personal growth.
But we are just one east coast networking event, albeit powerful and effective, among many others nationwide. I believe the time has come to seek other Latina organizations from across the nation to come together on a national level to share all of our own unique elements of voice, decision-making, wage equality, and leadership skills.
Imagine how different the workforce—the community—the political arena would be with empowered Latinas at the forefront?
It takes Latinas to help other mujeres. Only we can give voice to relatable stories of joy, triumph, disappointment, pain and circumstances. Our annual event returns each year more energized for the sole purpose of bringing together professionals, workforce leaders, and public figures to inspire and transform Latinas into their full potential. The women, who attend, leave equipped with empowerment tools, training and education opportunities to become fearless competitors in the marketplace.
As Latinos, U.S. born or legal residents, so many of us forget we already possess incredible assets—ability to vote and data that backs our economic worth:
- There are more than 20.5 million Latinas in the U.S.
- 1 in 6 Americans is Latino
- Every 30 seconds, a Latino turns 18
- 65% of U.S. Latinos are Millennial, ages 22-35
- The Latino buying power is $1.7 trillion
- Latinas own more than one million businesses in the U.S., and one in 10 of all women-owned firms in the United States
- By 2050, projections show there will be 138 million Latinos living in the U.S. It’s amazing that in 2018, these stats are often ignored or not valued resulting in Latinos and people of color continuing to fight bigotry, racism, discrimination and hatred. Latinas in particular, need to reclaim their self-worth.
- In the corporate arena, Latinas in management are a growing resource and a rising opportunity. As one of the fasting growing groups of women in the U.S. labor force, Latinas remain one of the least represented in top positions in Fortune 500 companies—even though Latinas represent 3.3 percent of all people employed in management, professional, and related occupations. And, as far as the gender wage gap, on average women in the U.S. who work full-time year-round are paid just 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Latino men. But Latinas get paid even less than Caucasian and African American women, receiving only 55 cents for every dollar paid. Simply put, Latinas and their families cannot afford discrimination and lower wages.
Networking is not only valuable; it is also promoting management diversity, while providing critical market insights for corporations and/or companies.
At Latinas & Power, our role is in building and sustaining a vibrant group of women who are deserving of equal pay, promotions, and have the knowledge to pushback against gender gap disparities and provide training and education opportunities that will help them move up the ladder from lower management to middle management and up. Latinas must claim their seat at the decision-making table as individuals, and recognize their combined wisdom through Latina affinity networks and events.
Latinas have the power to abolish their invisibility of importance in the workforce. And, best of all, these women pay it forward by helping other Latinas.
Like Latinas & Power, there are many other networks that help Latinas advance in the workforce, elevate them out of poverty, provide counseling and self-healing to refocus. Many also reach out to at-risk women, and help to keep them out of incarceration—did you know that Latinas are 69 percent more likely to be imprisoned? And it is totally preventable with us mujeres as networking guidance beacons.
Imagine if all the Latina professional and personal development events and organizations from the west, northwest, mid-west, southwest, east, northeastern all came together as one unified force? Each bringing their own unique blend of vision and energy, and together upping the Latina networking value as we understand and articulate the issues. Together we can increase the number of Latinas in Congress, state, city and county positions. Together we can ensure the future of Latinas do not ever again fall through the cracks.
We are all doing fabulous things—let’s fight not to be discounted nor disconnected from each other.
It is gratifying to be able to host an event that equips Latinas with the potential to evolve into leaders in the workforce and in their community. Prepared with knowledge and strength to fight against discrimination and the wage gap. Latinas have the power to abolish their invisibility of importance in the workforce. And, best of all, these women pay it forward by helping other Latinas.
Now imagine the impact they would make in the media?
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About Marilyn Alverio
A corporate marketing professional MassMutual, Marilyn Alverio, is also the Founder and Producer of the Latinas & Power® Symposium, an annual event that has reached and impacted over 10,000 Latinas from across the nation. The 2018 Latinas & Power® Symposium will be held on Thursday, May 17th .at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford, CT.
 Fulfilling America’s Future in the U.S. Patricia Gandara, Professor of Education, UCLA, Co-Director, The Civil Rights Project and The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics