Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Barragán, Armando


The study focused on learning about the successes and challenges first-generation social work Latinas face in the labor sector. The research project shows how Latino cultural values, beliefs, customs, and educational attainment impact Latinas’ careers and overall well-being. The research utilized a post-positivist approach and qualitatively gathered data through interviews with first-generation Latina social workers in Southern California. The study presents qualitative research project results, with quantitative demographics, of first-generation post-graduate Latinas balancing life and career. Themes from the findings include job satisfaction/dissatisfaction, assimilation and enculturation, labor sector discrimination and oppression, familismo and marianismo projection toward individualization, feeling balanced or not, desire to contribute to future Latino research, and words of empathy/empowerment for the younger self. Acknowledging the different factors affecting first-generation social worker Latinas could validate their struggles in balancing their professional and personal lives. At the micro level of social work, findings from this study can help create support groups or coping skills that benefit the study’s population. At the macro level, hearing narrative stories can create positive change to reduce discrimination of race, gender, and class within the workplace and reduce stigma about Latino culture.