Latinas and black women: key factors for a growing proportion of the US workforce

Faye Cocchiara (Department of Management, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, USA)
Myrtle P. Bell (Department of Management, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, USA)
Daphne Perkins Berry (Department of Management, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Publication date: 1 June 2006

Abstract

Purpose

To compare and contrast the experiences, challenges, and career mobility of black women and Latinas in the workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

Extant literature and data from the US Census Bureau, the US Department of Labor, the Pew Hispanic Research Center, and other relevant repositories were used to assess the workforce participation, education, and income for women of color. Specifically, their representation in organizational positions was examined, considering historical and social influences that affect this representation. Relevant human capital theory (HCT) was applied to consider its predictive power for outcomes of black women and Latinas in the workplace.

Findings

Although women of color are increasing proportions of all women in the US labor force, equal opportunity legislation (now in its fifth decade) has improved their status less than would be expected by their education and workforce participation. HCT does not adequately explain the experiences of Latinas and black women.

Practical implications

Being aware of barriers that black women and Latinas face in the workplace will prevent organizations from devaluing a growing segment of workers and help them compete in an increasingly competitive market.

Originality/value

While black women and Latinas are the most numerous women of color in the US workforce, the relatively small amount of research on women of color, particularly Latinas, remains a gaping hole in the field. Thus, the value of this article is that it adds to the literature on the workplace experiences of an important segment of the US population.

Keywords

Citation

Cocchiara, F., Bell, M. and Perkins Berry, D. (2006), "Latinas and black women: key factors for a growing proportion of the US workforce", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 272-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150610706258

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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