Historical, political, and economic reasons explain the presence of Latinos in the United States. These factors must be understood to interpret the importance and impact of Latinos across all areas in our society. Today, the unquestionable presence of Latinos in the United States is well represented in the frequently heard phrase "the Latinization of the U.S." This phrase does not mean the United States is becoming a Latino country, it recognizes the influence of this population in the fabric of the nation. (Holvino, 2013)Latinas are one of the fastest growing groups of women in the U.S. labor force, but remain one of the least represented in the top positions at Fortune 500 companies according to the Network of Executive Women. This paper will make special recognition of Dr. Martha Bernal, an influential female figure in the field of psychology particularly and her overall outstanding contributions to psychology in the public interest.
The Positive Advancement of Latinas in America
Latinas possess valuable skills such as bilingualism and biculturalism making them extremely competitive candidates for filling top positions in the private and even public sector to serve the growing minority segment in the U.S. such as it is the Latino population. However, several societal factors often compromise the career objectives of high-achieving Latina women, for instance, the roles of family, community, discrimination, and strategies to counteract discrimination. Martha Bernal is an excellent representation of overcoming those factors in her effort to attain educational and professional success. More than an academic assignment, this subject has become of personal interest craving further research. This research pays special attention to the contributions of Bernal, goes over the obstacles that Latinas face academically and professionally and allows an optimistic vision of the future development of psychology. “Psychologists bear a social responsibility to promote the public interest by sharing relevant research and knowledge to influence court decisions, legislation, and policy.” (Vasquez M. J., 2002, p. 880)
Martha Bernal, the first Latina in the United States to receive a doctor degree in psychology, was born in 1931 in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in El Paso, Texas. Both of her parents were emigrants from Mexico. She was raised in a home with strong Mexican roots that underlined the nurturing of their children and their family ties. Living along the border gave Bernal the biculturalism experience, the one inculcated by her parents as well as the American environment of being born and raised in the United States. She ambitioned higher education, which was not well viewed by her parents being a female member of their traditional culture, so she experienced a great deal of struggles and conflicts in getting parental support for breaking through and wanting to attend a local college that is now the University of Texas at El Paso.* Furthermore,...