Inspiring Latinas Who’s Contributions To Their Fields Have Changed The World
International Women’s Day is March 8
It is a day that has been observed since the early 1990’s. At first, it was called International Working Women’s day, and the purpose was and is to raise awareness of the struggles of women worldwide and examine them in a hopeful manner. Also, it’s a day to celebrate women’s economic, political and social achievements. There are many women that, throughout the years have succeeded in their fields, creating major social change one way or another. On this day, we would like to honor the Latinas who represent their culture and heritage by highlighting it in everything they do, and who have achieved major recognition for paving the way to a more equal world.
Although there are so many Latinas whose work in changing the world remains anonymous, there are a lot who have been pushed into the spotlight. And of all of those we know, we’re only choosing 15. We are aware that there are thousands of Latinas out there working hard every day so women can enjoy a better environment in politics, the arts, businesses, literature, the fashion world, entertainment, and even in space. And may their example inspire thousands more to educate themselves and grow personally and professionally. Scroll through our gallery to see the 15 Latinas we chose, who are changing the world with their work and commitment.
~15 Inspiring Latinas~
Take a look at some inspiring Latinas who are an example for women thanks to their hard work, dedication and success.
Reuters, Mezcalent, Latin Times
Huerta is a labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with César Chávez, co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). She has received numerous awards for her community service and advocacy for workers’, immigrants’, and womens’ rights.
One of the most popular salsa artists of the 20th century, she earned twenty-three gold albums and was renowned internationally as the “Queen of Salsa”, “La Guarachera de Cuba”, as well as The Queen of Latin Music. Her career lasted a span of nearly six decades. The late singer was also a strong voice for freedom in Cuba and was strongly against Fidel Castro’s regime.
Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court’s first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979. She was an advocate for the hiring of Latino faculty at both schools. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
Menchú has worked her whole life to publicizing the plight of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples and to promoting indigenous rights in the country. She received the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize and Prince of Asturias Award in 1998.
Carolina is a renown fashion designer. She has made a name for herself by dressing numerous celebrities and First Ladies, from Jacqueline Onassis to Michelle Obama. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2008 and “Womenswear Designer of the Year” in 2004. Herrera is a recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence as well as Spain’s Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts, which was presented to her in 2002 by King Don Juan Carlos I. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in 1997, and those are only few of her achievements.
Alicia is Cuba’s prima ballerina assoluta and choreographer.She runs the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and is most famous for her portrayals of Giselle and the ballet version of Carmen. (Reuters)
Allende is a Chilean writer who’s famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts. She has been called “the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author.” She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004 and in 2010, she received Chile’s National Literature Prize. Her novels are often based upon her personal experience and pay homage to the lives of women.
The only Hispanic and one of the few performers to have won an EGOT: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards, and was the second Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award.
She was named the “Top Latin artist of the 90’s” and “Best selling Latin artist of the decade” by Billboard for her fourteen top-ten singles in the Top Latin Songs chart, including seven number-one hits. She was called “The Queen of Tejano music” and opened the doors for that music genre. At the peak of her career, Selena visited local schools to talk to students about the importance of education and also donated her time to civic organizations.
Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal were three Dominican sisters who fought against the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. They were one of Trujillo’s major concerns and he had them killed in Nov. 25, 1960. Their fight for a democracy earned them recognition from the UN, who, in 1999, designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor.
(Screenshot/ YouTube/ AARP)
She was an American bisexual transgender activist and trans woman. She is often credited for adding the “T” to LGBTQ. She was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance and helped found Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young street drag queens and trans women.
(Screenshot/ YouTube/ Randolfe Wicker)
Ochoa is the first Latina astronaut. She is the current Director of the Johnson Space Center. Her technical assignments in the Astronaut Office includes serving as the crew representative for flight software, computer hardware and robotics, Assistant for Space Station to the Chief of the Astronaut Office, lead spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control, and as acting as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. A veteran of four space flights, Ochoa has logged nearly 1,000 hours in space. She was a mission specialist on STS-56 (1993), was payload commander on STS-66, and was mission specialist and flight engineer on STS-96 and STS-110 (2002). All that without mentioning all her breakthrough research in spacecraft technology.
Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
Besides being a singer-songwriter, dancer, record producer, choreographer and model, we added the Colombian singer to this list mostly because of her work with children through her foundation “Pies Descalzos” and her activism. Her organization builds schools for poor children all around Colombia, but she’s also a UNICEF ambassador, advocating for the well being of children all over the world.
Saralegui is one of the most iconic journalists and talk show hosts in Latin America. She began her career with the magazine Vanidades, later taking on the role of editor in the Spanish version of Cosmopolitan, to finally jump to TV with “El Show de Cristina,” which aired for over 20 years.