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Written by Alida Valle
on July 22, 2020

In 1958, women made up less than one third of the U.S. labor force. By 2017, however, 57 percent of all women in the United States participated in the labor force.[1] Labor force growth is an essential aspect of economic growth and women, especially Latinas, are playing an increasingly important role.

Hispanics now comprise over 18 percent of the U.S. population, 59.9 million people to be exact.[2] About half, 49.5 percent, of Hispanics in the United States are female – that’s about 29.94 million Americans. What’s more, 61 percent of all U.S. Latinas participate in the labor force, accounting for 7.5 percent of the total labor force, with this number expected to increase to 9.2 percent by 2028.[3] By 2060, Latinas will represent more than one-third of the U.S. female population and are also the fastest growing sector of the entrepreneurial market.[4]

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Latina entrepreneurialism cannot be understated – Latinas shine especially bright in this area. Between June 2009 and June 2019, the number of Latino business owners grew 34 percent, compared to just 1 percent for all business owners in the United States. In 2018, the growth rate for Latino entrepreneurs was 0.51 percent, meaning that, on average, 510 Latino adults became entrepreneurs each month.[5] Of those Hispanic-owned businesses, 25 percent are owned by Latinas and have a yearly growth rate of 10 percent, which is four percent higher than that of businesses owned by Hispanic men (six percent).[6] It’s safe to say that business acumen is an area of strength for Latinas.

Even with all the entrepreneurial spirit and diversity Latinas can bring to Corporate America, however, they remain underpaid and underrepresented at all levels of the career pipeline. In fact, Latinas account for less than two percent of executives and hold less than three percent of all corporate board seats.[7] Last week, HACR's Executive Vice President and COO, Lisette Garcia, sat down with Yai Vargas, founder of The Latinista, and Jessica Kannya, a national sales support and optimization executive at Bank of America, to discuss their personal experiences in Corporate America, as well as their work towards ensuring Latina inclusion at every level.

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If you are interested in learning about the day-to- day experiences and barriers Latinas face in Corporate America, download a copy of the HACR Empow(h)er™: Understanding Workplace Barriers for Latinas report. The report is the culmination of research conducted over a five-month period with over 500 professionals throughout Corporate America. Throughout the report, we focus on the experiences of the women who participated in the study in an attempt to better understand how they view their opportunities and visibility within the companies in which they work. While their experiences vary, the data shared throughout the report provides a solid starting point for helping Corporate America better understand why some individuals have been able to achieve “success,” broadly defined, while others feel their opportunities and progress have been stifled.

[1] Dubina, Kevin S. 2020. How Women and Aging Affect Trends in Labor Force Growth: Spotlight on Statistics. Washington, DC: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[2] United States Census Bureau. 2017. 2017 National Population Projections Tables. Washington, DC: United States Census Bureau.

[3] United States Census Bureau. 2019. Hispanic share of the labor force projected to be 20.9 percent by 2028. Washington, DC: United States Census Bureau.

[4] White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. 2015. FULFILLING AMERICA’S FUTURE: LATINAS IN THE U.S., 2015. Washington, DC: White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

[5] Orozco, Marlene, Inara Sunan Tareque, Paul Oyer, and Jerry I. Porras. 2020. 2019 State of Latino Entrepreneurship. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.

[6] Orozco, Marlene, Inara Sunan Tareque, Paul Oyer, and Jerry I. Porras. 2019. 2018 State of Latino Entrepreneurship. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.

[7] Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. 2019. 2019 HACR Corporate Inclusion Index. Washington, DC: Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility.

*Although the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino/a” often have distinct meanings, in this publication we use the terms interchangeably.

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