May 14, 2024 - World

Survey: U.S. Latinas face great pressures to conform to gender roles

Illustration of a woman from behind holding up a giant female symbol

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A greater percentage of U.S.-born Latinas than immigrants say they feel pressure to conform to traditional gender roles, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Why it matters: Nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. is a Latina, but Hispanic women have staggering wage gaps and are underrepresented in health care, corporate America and other key industries.

By the numbers: Pew surveyed 2,600 Latinas Nov. 6-19, 2023, and found that about 66% of U.S.-born Latinas said they dealt with a "great deal or fair amount" of pressure to get married and have children, compared to 47% of Latina immigrants who said the same.

  • 76% of U.S. Latinas said they felt pressure to cook and clean at home, compared to 59% of immigrant Latinas.
  • Almost 70% of U.S. Latinas said they felt the expectation to be beautiful, while 56% of immigrant Hispanic women said the same.
  • A larger share of Latinas (59%) than immigrant women (48%) polled said sexism in the workplace is a barrier.

Zoom in: Despite the pressures they face at home and in the workplace, the vast majority of Hispanic women (88%) expressed they were at least "somewhat satisfied" with their family life.

  • Immigrant Latinas were more likely to say they were satisfied with their home lives than U.S. Latinas (62% vs. 51%).

What they're saying: "Latinas say they are facing pressures from a variety of directions and some of them are due to unique cultural pressures rooted in Latin American culture," says Jens Manuel Krogstad, senior writer of race and ethnicity research at Pew.

  • Krogstad says U.S.-born Latinas with immigrant family members can experience cultural expectations at home while also facing different kinds of pressures at school or work.

The big picture: Overall, more than half of Latinas said they felt pressure "extremely or very often" to support their families (53%) and succeed in their work lives (63%).

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