Companies are eager to shine a spotlight on their DEI initiatives. But often, when we examine the results, it’s clear that these efforts may still be failing to include a significant group of workers: Hispanic women. 
The Hispanic community makes up 19% of the U.S. population and spans 20 countries worldwide. Tracing their heritage from Latin America and Spain, Hispanic people vary across racial, ethnic and religious lines — in other words, this group is not easy to capture with a few surveys, says Yrthya Dinzey-Flores, vice president of DEI, social impact and sustainability at Justworks, a workforce management platform.
Dinzey-Flores, who identifies as Afro-Latina and Puerto Rican, has been in the DEI space for over a decade, serving as New York state’s first chief diversity officer in 2011. She knows firsthand how invisible Hispanic women are in the professional world, including DEI initiatives. 
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“Our community is between all the statistical focus on Black representation or the representation of women,” says Dinzey-Flores. “Now, there is a growing recognition that we don’t know as much about what Hispanic women face in the workplace.”
Essentially, the Hispanic community and BIPOC as a whole are often grouped together along with their needs and their challenges. And while Dinzey-Flores underlines that women of color often share similar concerns and experiences, employers may be missing out on critical context. 
New research from Arizent, EBN’s parent company, notes that only 19% of women who identify as BIPOC or Hispanic consider their workplaces to be “healthy,” while 42% of white women deem their workplace healthy. This is telling of an obvious divide between white women and women of color at work, but it’s only showing a small part of the story.
“Latinos are often lumped into a monolith, and people don’t understand the great intersectionality at play,” says Victoria Park, director of communications at Black-owned media marketing company Hero Collective. “I’m half Puerto Rican, but I have been afforded the privilege to kind of live my life as a white woman because that’s how I’m perceived. I do strongly identify with my culture, but my perspective can be different.”
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Park points out that a history of colonialism and colorism has left its mark on the Hispanic community, and a Hispanic woman’s experiences can vary greatly depending on factors like race or accent. Unfortunately, DEI initiatives struggle to capture this nuance. For Dinzey-Flores and Park, that lack of visibility only adds to the sense of isolation they experience in the workplace. Compared to 10% of white women, 20% of BIPOC or Hispanic women do not feel included by their co-workers, according to Arizent.
“I am often the only Latina in a room, and even more often, I am also the only Afro-Latina in the room,” says Dinzey-Flores. “I have to speak up for my entire group while feeling the disproportionate judgment towards my opinion. Being that lone voice is difficult.”
Park considers herself a “fly on the wall,” being perceived as white in rooms where there are often no women of color — so she has often found herself at previous jobs educating co-workers in meetings or collaborative efforts on why certain projects or messaging may be insensitive to the Hispanic community. She finds that this can be alienating but necessary, especially since she may have access to information or questions that others may not have shared if someone with darker skin was present. Park notes that she was relieved to be welcomed by women of color when she joined Hero Collective.
Ultimately, Park and Dinzey-Flores agree that it’s the lack of Hispanic voices that truly hurts the community. This goes for the workplace as well as DEI research and initiatives. If there is no one there to share their side of the story, can that perspective be acknowledged? In both women’s experiences, the answer is no. 
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The consequences of this include having the worst gender pay gap among women of color, earning 57% of what non-Hispanic white men were paid in 2020, according to the American Association of University Women, as well as making up as little as 4% of board seats in Fortune 500 companies. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Black and Hispanic women filed a majority of the sexual harassment charges between 2018 and 2021.
“Just to be taken seriously, you’re at a disadvantage,” says Park. “At least for me, coming from politics and advertising, which is dominated by white men, I had to drag that seat for myself at the table.”
Dinzey-Flores emphasizes that DEI can still make a difference by adding and empowering Hispanic female voices, but leaders (who are statistically likely to be white and male) have to consciously decide to put focus on Hispanic talent, which may prove challenging. 
When Arizent asked employees if they think companies make better decisions when there is diversity, only 30% of white men said yes, compared to 56% of BIPOC or Hispanic women. 
Park asks employers to at least give current Hispanic employees the space to speak up, while Dinzey-Flores urges employers to also consider their bottom lines. The U.S. Latino market is worth $2.6 trillion, making it the eighth largest economy in the world if it was its own country — and it’s only likely to grow. 
“If you want insights that no other organization could leverage, Latinos are a part of that equation,” says Dinzey-Flores. “Tap into this labor force of talent.”
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