Making Space: Merging Theory and Practice in Adult Education

By Vanessa Sheared; Peggy A. Sissel et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 16

Through the Eyes of a Latina: Professional Women in Adult Education

Rosita Lopez Marcano


INTRODUCTION

Throughout history, leadership research and studies of leadership have been conducted by men and have focused primarily on male leaders (Edson, 1987; Hansot and Tyack 1981), and the interpretive frameworks derived from these studies have been used as a way to describe all human behavior. Moreover, the interpretive frameworks that were derived from the study of these men’s lives have been found to be inadequate when applied to women (Marshall 1993). Furthermore, while new studies on women have begun to include minorities, there continues to be little literature and research on Hispanic 1 women leaders. Professional women of color have historically encountered the discriminatory double bind of racism and sexism once they arrive at the workplace (Comas-Diaz and Greene 1995).

Not much has changed. Women continue to be misunderstood and often mistreated in the workplace; and Latinas, in particular, because of a constellation of cultural expectations and societal biases, have had many hurdles to face as they move into leadership roles.


CHANGING AND DEFINING ROLES FOR LATINAS

Hispanic women share a history of discrimination and oppression with other marginalized groups in America as a result of their culture, class, and color differences. In addition to this, language differences can also be a factor that impacts their lives and their leadership aspirations. This in part may be due to the fact they have multiple experiences that intersect with one another. For instance, many have their cultural and historical roots in Spain; they speak the

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