Mary Sanchez and Gwen Richtermeyer, Ph.D:

Latinas Overcoming Social Class Obstacles

University of Missouri, Kansas City


Working class Latinas often overcome significant obstacles and barriers to attain educational and professional success. Richtermeyer's research shows that the very attitudes and methods the Latinas used to gain their new-found middle class stature, begin to derail them later. These once productive attributes actually prevent the women from reaching their goals as adults.  Richtermeyer's research reveals the unrecognized salience of social class in shaping the views of women who have moved from the working class into the middle class.  These undesirable effects remain hidden as Latinas struggle to comprehend why they are stymied in their professional careers. 


Sanchez has taken this research and used it to reach out to young Latinas. Her efforts to give practical application to the findings have included using Richtermeyer's work to mentor and otherwise guide young Latinas. She helps them to understand and overcome many of the barriers she experienced in her own life and career.  Her real-life examples show how knowledge of these unseen barriers can transform thinking and therefore, behavior.  The vignettes are a stirring reminder that not all the issues Latinas face are visible and tangible. In fact, some of the most harmful begin to be absorbed at a young age.



Contact Information:


Gwen Richtermeyer, Ph.D.                   

Director, BRIDG                                  

University of Missouri-Kansas City       

4747 Troost, #217                                 

Kansas City, MO 64110            



Mary Sanchez

Columnist, Knight Ridder Tribune

The Kansas City Star

1729 Grand Blvd.

Kansas City, MO 64108