Dec 20, 2014

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Existing in a Male-Centric Work Environment

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Portrait of happy young businesswoman

Being raised in household of older brothers had its advantages as well as its disadvantages, but the way my brothers taught me how to carry myself is indispensable. Through their own actions, my brothers helped me learn how to stand out in a room of testosterone-raging individuals, while simultaneously maintaining my poise and self-respect. Now as a professional, I am beyond grateful to my hermanitos for teaching me traits I wouldn’t have mastered on my own.

Lesson 1: Presentation Influences Perception

Society has created the misleading perception that women are hormone-filled and cannot handle constructive criticism. This in turn makes it difficult for women to be heard because there is this preconceived notion that we are coming from an emotional place, rather than a rational one. Understanding how others perceive you becomes essential in helping you better navigate a male-centric work environment. No one can control how others perceive us, but we can definitely challenge it. We can do this by communicating our thoughts in an assertive, non-aggressive manner. We Latinas have brilliant ideas – it is the way we present them and come across while presenting them that will make not only our voice heard and visible, but you as well chica.

Lesson 2: Feel Entitled

Latina women have to work harder to get where we want to go. Rather than have this staggering fact anger us, I believe it should motivate us to be more persistent in the work place. Persistency in a skillful, well-thought manner gets you anywhere your corazoncito desires – it demonstrates a sense of self-entitlement. Though self-entitlement is most often exhibited by men, there is no reason why we women should not do the same, and feel entitled to the raises, promotions, or positions we want.  We must understand that while nothing comes easy, there should be no shame in expressing when something is well deserved.

Lesson 3: Speak Up

In the words of my wise madrecita – “Nadie puede hablar por ti, así que hazlo bien.” To translate for all my lovely women out there, “No one can talk for you, so do it right.”

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Leticia Meza

Leticia Meza

Leticia is a Los Angeles, CA native and first-generation Latina. One of her many goals in life is to help guide future generations of Latinas to transcend their true sense of self without any guilt through her writings. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where she studied Political Economy and Chicana/o Studies.

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