Women’s Day: Stories of Latina Success
Women of all backgrounds have made insurmountable contributions to every fiber that makes up the tapestry of society as we know it. Contrary to overly exposed stereotypes, Latina women are successful trailblazers in a wide range of fields and capacities. From designing metro lines, to sending rovers into space, and even winning the Nobel Peace Prize, their accomplishments are worthy of note. Today on Women’s Day, as part of our initiative to raise awareness of their impact, we’d like to share the stories of admirable Latina women who you might not have heard about, but definitely should.
Lydia Villa-Komaroff: It is because of women like Lydia Villa-Komaroff that the fields of science and technology are increasingly more open to women. During a time when only two others had done so, Komaroff became the third Chicana in history to earn a doctorate in science, and she did so at MIT! As a molecular cellular scientist, she’s been a pioneer in the advancement of scientific understanding of insulin production.
Sara Martínez Tucker: This high powered career-woman, not only was the first female executive of AT&T, she is also a dedicated philanthropist. After early retirement, she made it her life’s pursuits to “be in the business of creating role models rather than to be a role model,” which undoubtedly makes her an exemplary one. She founded the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, resulting in 7,500 students getting a share of nearly $30 million in scholarships yearly.
Rigoberta Menchú: Well deserved recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Rigoberta Menchú, has been a leading force in the fight for human rights. A Guatemalan of Mayan descent, Menchú has been an active advocate both at home and abroad for the rights of indigenous people and has forged a path towards intercultural peace.
Diana Trujillo: This Colombian aerospace engineer working on the Curiosity Mars Rover, sets forth a lesson of perseverance and the importance of fighting for our dreams. She moved to Florida from her town of origin, Cali, Colombia to begin her career at Miami Dade Community College. Through hard work and determination, she earned her place in NASA as an Aerospace Engineer. After leading operations for Curiosity, she is now looking to start training to be an astronaut.
Antonia Novello: Born in the Puerto Rican village of Fajardo, Antonia Novello was the first woman and Hispanic-American to ever be appointed Surgeon General in the United States. She devoted a large part of her career towards public health, being one of the first to recognize the need for treating women and children at the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Clara de Buen Richkarday: A significant and literal imprint in her community, Clara de Buen Richkarday is one of the architects behind Metro lines A and B in Mexico City. Her outstanding work has earned her various awards including a gold medal from the prestigious International Academy of Architecture.
Claudia de la Cruz: Efforts to empower one another need to be commended. Claudia de la Cruz stands as the perfect example of what happens when women band together to help other women. As founder of “Da Urban Butterflies,” she dedicates her life to lift up young women between the ages of 18 to 30 with educational workshops. “Here you find yourself in a space where they are telling you yes, you are worth something. We care about you and you can create the world you want. That is really empowering,” said de la Cruz about her organization.
Mari Carmen Ramírez: As the first director of the International Center for the Arts, Mari Carmen Ramirez is notorious for elevating Latin American Art. She uses her position to work towards promoting and recognizing our rich cultural heritage through exemplary artwork by deserving Latino artists.
All these remarkable achievements have only happened in the short time that women have been in the workforce and we can’t wait to see what the future holds. Share these stories and help send this message to all of our girls of this and the next generation. It doesn’t matter where they come from, they are capable of anything they set their mind to.