What is it about Latina entrepreneurs that is so interesting to me?
I’m glad you asked!
Being a Latina entrepreneur myself, I am privy to the many facets of what it means to be one.
What is a Latina?
First, let me explain what it means to be a Latina. A Latina is a woman who was born in Latin America or whose ancestors are from the region. It is different from a Hispanic, who is from a country that speaks Spanish which includes Spain and excludes Brazil, which is in Latin America. I am both a Latina and a Hispanic woman because I was born in Cuba.
So when you hear people refer to themselves as Latina or Hispanic, now you know the difference.
Here is a great run-down by MundoJoven of MundoHispanico.
Pulled Between Two Worlds
Being a Latina with a career means you are constantly being pulled between two worlds. Our culture is super duper full of machismo. It’s something most of us have grown up with. It is changing, and that’s a good thing. But there is always the struggle between progress and improving and holding fast to our culture so that we do not lose that part of our identity which ties us to our history.
It is also what connects us and allows us to laugh at ourselves, our families and our customs. Here is a funny example by mitú featuring the overbearing mother cliche.
The Judgement Is Fierce
While women in general still deal with glass ceilings and issues of gender equality in the workplace, the Latina deals with that as well as the gender issues within our families and communities.
We are still expected to be good Catholic girls growing up and prioritize being a wife and mother above all else. Whether you have a career or not, you are continuously judged on how well dressed and clean your children are and how well kept your house is. You must know how to cook delicious meals (I failed this one miserably) and keep a tidy home. A strong education and a good career path are encouraged, but those are still second to the domestic responsibilities.
I know many of my non-Latina friends face those same issues, however, in Latina culture, it is multiplied 10 times over.
Don’t Be Fancy
Then there is being an entrepreneur and all of its challenges. I don’t mean the sexy version where someone gets VC funding for an app and goes on 2 week skiing trips and barely hits the office. I’m talking about the real entrepreneur who lives, eats and breathes their business and can’t stop because it is just who they are.
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. It’s certainly not fancy, there is always the risk of epic failure, and you are always on call. If you truly love it, then you just live it.
Latina Entrepreneur series coming soon
It is an exciting time to be a Latina boss right now. There are so many inspiring women who are slaying that I decided to kick off a series featuring their journeys.
Some of these ladies I know well and others I can’t wait to connect with and discuss what it means to be this rare species of human who is pulled in two directions at all times by some very strong life currents.
Stay tuned for the first feature. Who do you think it should be?