The 1999 landmark study, “The State of Hispanic Girls*”, spotlighted the alarming facts that Hispanic girls are more likely than their non-Hispanic peers to face the four most serious threats to health and education – depression, pregnancy, substance abuse and delinquency.
Over a decade later, numerous studies confirm these startling facts remain the same.
Critical issues facing Latinitas today:
- Poor body image
- Low self-esteem
- Health concerns – diabetes, STDs, teen pregnancy
- Weakened sense of belonging, sense of community
So what are we going to do about this?
The solution lies in empowering young Latinas and strengthening families. This is more important now than ever.
Hispanic girls now rank as the largest minority group of girls in the U.S. According to the 2010 population projections by the U.S. Census, there will be more than 9.2 million Hispanic girls under the age of 18 living in the U.S. As such, Hispanic girls will make up 25.1 percent of the total number of American girls in that age sector. By comparison, African-American girls will make up 16.7 of the population for this age segment.
Combine this growing population with the fact that HIspanic girls have the highest dropout rate than any other racial or ethnic group (30% compared to 12.9% African Americans and 8.2% for whites), and you can see how critical this segment is to the overall education crisis in America.
Here are three things you can do today to help empower these girls:
- Be a mentor. Positive role models are important
- Listen to them. Let them know that their voices are heard and important.
- Help them be aware of education, technology and professional opportunities.