At Moira we use the term “Latinx” when referring to the demographic, but this time, we want to proudly write about the “Latinas”. Women have become a driving force in the development of the Latinx community in the political realm, although we still are an often-overlooked segment of voters and influencers in the American landscape.
It’s a fact that Latinas’ voting power goes beyond their individual votes: They’re likely to encourage friends and family to vote, too. What many don’t see yet, is that we are a force that will be taken into consideration by political campaigns, and organizations should take advantage of that.
As we know, women in Latinx households tend to focus on specific issues such as health care, education, women’s rights and immigration reform, among others. And today, these are not just needs to be addressed, these are issues that influence their party choices, if they vote, and for who.
At Moira, it’s been our task to shed light onto the fact that women have a strong voice within their family and that their voice translates into votes.
Latinas play a huge role in our communities and our families: “they’re our matriarchs, they’re the glue that holds our families and our communities together,” said Stephanie Valencia, co-founder and president of EquisLabs.
Although the general knowledge is that latinas are submissive players in a machista culture, this is a rather oversimplified perception.
It is true that gender roles are known to be particularly salient in Latinx communities, that there are specific gender roles and gender differences that have been defined for generations. But as we also know, Latinx communities across the USA are diverse and, coming from different Latin countries, with different degrees of acculturation. The way these roles are at play, is not homogenous.
The infamous “*Marianismo” , (*an idealized traditional feminine gender role characterized by submissiveness, selflessness, chastity, hyperfemininity, and acceptance of machismo in males.) is nowadays less pervasive as we are used to thinking.
In the matriarchal Latinx community, women are the central adhesive and propulsive force. They pick up the groceries, set doctors appointments and pay bills. They make sure kids are keeping up with the school work and care for family members young and old when they’re sick. They are the moral pillars -.Latina electorate
And that translates into power. …thus the empowerment of Latina women is the empowerment of their whole family.
Many of them did not realize it: Latinas have moved ahead of their male counterparts as the main engine of Latinx social and economic advancement. However, based on a recent Nielsen report in the U.S., Latinas say they are the primary or joint decision maker in every category. They have developed their ability to navigate the complexities of living between two cultures.
The same female-led traditions and matriarchal roles that are revered and prioritized as central to Latinx cultures and values—hard work, familism, femininity, determination, resilience, and optimism—are being used by Latinas to leave their imprint on American society. And that imprint starts in the heart of their own family unit. Not only do they voice their concerns to their loved ones, but in their educator roles, they make sure their children understand the world they live in, the issues they face, and lead by example. They vote. Moms that are ignorant of the world past the doors of their home, are gone for good.
At Moira, we know that sometimes the way to a Latinx audience is through the woman of the household. So we encourage our Latinas to speak up, and we’ll make it our mission to raise their voices to be loud and clear, because as we say in Spanish “el que no llora no mama”, – or “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”.