I do not enjoy speculating on stereotypes. I am particularly peeved when the stereotype involves gender. Yet, what factors may account for the recent data that signals that in addition to attending college in larger numbers, Latinas are also likely to plan more ambitiously for their near future than are Latino men. The referenced report cites two areas in which Latinas seem more apt to plan.
Learning to save our frijoles for a rainy day
08/07/2012 By Leave a Comment
The first area, education, was discussed last week. Applying to college as either a new or returning student, requires some preparation. In the 18-24 year age range, Latinas are more likely to start planning for entering college in greater numbers than their male counterparts: 22% as compared to only 16% of men who start planning to take up a career in higher education. In addition, 22% of the same age group of Latinas is more likely than Latinos (only 15%) to plan to find a better job.
Could this search for increasing stability and opportunity be a reflection of Latinas’ impetus to prepare themselves a “nest” ? After all, the two areas, education and job attainment, are clearly advancement mechanisms within the larger US society. Yet, if the data were attributable to the search on the part of Latinas to ensure their stability, the question remains: why do more Latinas not do this? Twenty-two percent is roughly only a quarter of the age cohort. A greater percentage of our young women should be more interested in securing their financial security either by advancing their education or finding a better job. This, in and of itself, should be a rallying point for our community, parents and educators.
Forward thinking, planning for the future, are important for long term success and stability. Consider, for example, the act of planning for retirement. The process of amassing enough wealth to retire comfortably is one that takes decades. The financial plan is especially important to women since currently they tend to live longer than men. In addition, given the fact that many Latinas depend on social security for their retirement income, and that 25% of Latinas over the age of 65 live in poverty, it is clear that there is a need to impart to our young women the importance of saving for their años de oro.
So why is it that even a smaller percentage of our young men are positioning themselves for short term life improvements that may lead to life benefits? Is it that men are more risk averse due to the belief that they must fulfill a provider role? Could it be that seeking not to jeopardize their status and presently perceived position as providers, Latino men seek not to risk their own self image and self identified stability by planning for a change? Regardless of the motivation, the dangerously low numbers of young Latinos who plan for such life changes is, once again, another reason to start a conversation with all our young people, the future of Latinos in the U.S.
Far from being a sociological study, this article seeks only to spark dialogue. The wellbeing of our children and grandchildren depends on it.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.