Girls, Women, Leaders
In the last few years, I have been exposed to some cultural realities facing young women from various ethnic groups. I have been tutoring low income teenagers at a few locations throughout NYC. Although my sample size is not scientific, Hispanic women, on average, are the majority of the top students. They are poised, pleasant to speak with, and often have well thought out ideas about what they might do for a career. Many of them excel academically while simultaneously learning to speak English during their four years in high school.
I was surprised to learn that depending on their nationality, many of these girls may not go to college. Many of their families believe strongly that women should stay close to home and prepare for nurturing and care taking of the family. I know this is just my limited observation but apparently this is not uncommon.
What might this tell us about the future progress of women in the workplace? I keep wondering how many other social norms like this exist among other ethnic groups. Could similar cultural norms among an increasingly diverse US and European population demand more creativity as we seek to equalize women and men in the workplace? I believe that real change for woman (and men) can only be sustained if we start from the bottom and then “lean” over, up, in, and all around.
Son of a Postman