As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it is important to recognize and honor the contributions of Latinas in the field of technology. Latinas are a vital and diverse group of professionals who bring innovation, creativity, and leadership to the tech industry. However, they also face many challenges and barriers that limit their career growth and advancement. One of these challenges is the lack of workplace visibility.
Workplace visibility means that your work is noticed, acknowledged, and valued by others. It also means that you have access to information, opportunities, and networks that can help you achieve your career goals. Workplace visibility is essential for any aspiring leader, as it allows you to have more influence, impact, and recognition in your organization.
Visibility serves as a multiplier of your hard work, amplifying its impact and opening doors that might otherwise remain closed. For Latinas in tech, being visible means more than just individual recognition; it’s a step towards changing the narrative and breaking stereotypes. When you’re visible, you’re in a position to influence not just project outcomes but also organizational culture. You become a role model for other Latinas and women of color, showing them what’s possible. Moreover, visibility increases your chances of being involved in innovative projects, expands your professional network, and can lead to more significant responsibilities and promotions. It’s not just about you; it’s about paving the way for others who will follow in your footsteps.
However, workplace visibility is not always easy to attain, especially for Latinas in tech. According to a 2020 study, while women comprise 28.8% of the U.S. tech workforce, Latinas hold a mere 2% of jobs in STEM. They also face lower pay, fewer leadership roles, higher attrition rates, and more harassment and discrimination than their male counterparts. These factors can make it harder for Latinas to showcase their skills, achievements, and potential to others.
“We need to close the pay gap for Latinas not just because it’s fair, but because it’s smart. Latinas are a driving force of our economy and our society, and they deserve to be paid what they’re worth.”Kamala Harris, Vicepresident of the United states
Fortunately, there are some strategies that Latinas can use to increase their visibility at work and unlock their career growth. Here are some of them:
- Show initiative and proactivity. Take on challenging projects, volunteer for high-visibility tasks, suggest improvements or solutions and share your ideas and opinions. This will demonstrate your value and expertise, as well as your willingness to learn and grow.
- Speak up and communicate effectively. Communicate your goals, expectations, needs, and feedback clearly and confidently. Highlight your accomplishments and contributions regularly and strategically. Seek feedback and recognition from others. Use different channels and platforms to share your work and insights with a wider audience.
- Build relationships and networks. Connect with people across different levels, functions, and backgrounds in your organization. Seek mentors, sponsors, and allies who can support you, guide you, and advocate for you. Join or create communities of practice or interest groups that align with your passions and goals. Participate in company events, initiatives, and programs that can help you expand your network and visibility.
- Leverage your strengths and uniqueness. Embrace your identity, culture, background, and perspective as assets that can enrich your work and organization. Showcase your strengths and talents that make you stand out from the crowd. Celebrate your achievements and successes without downplaying or minimizing them. Share your success stories and contributions in meetings, on internal platforms, and on professional networks like #LinkedIn.
- Seek opportunities for learning and development. Pursue professional certifications, courses, workshops, webinars, or coaching sessions that can help you enhance your skills and knowledge. Engage in public speaking, writing, or teaching opportunities that can showcase your thought leadership and expertise. Seek new challenges or roles that can stretch you beyond your comfort zone.
These are some of the ways that Latinas can increase their visibility at work and unlock their career growth. However, they cannot do it alone. They also need the support and commitment of their organizations to create a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for all employees.
Organizations that want to attract, retain, and empower Latinas in tech need to take concrete steps to improve their practices and policies. They need to provide equitable pay and benefits; offer flexible work arrangements; create a safe and respectful work environment; foster a culture of diversity and inclusion; invest in training and development opportunities; implement a structured process for promotions; encourage company influencers and leaders to build more diverse networks; expand recruitment sources; reach out to diverse talent pools; leverage data and analytics to measure progress; hold themselves accountable for outcomes; listen to feedback from employees; involve them in decision-making; recognize their value; celebrate their achievements.
By doing so, organizations can not only benefit from the diverse perspectives, experiences, skills, creativity, and innovation that Latinas bring to the table but also create a more prosperous and equitable society for everyone.