Check out these 8 Hispanic women from different professional fields that have paved the way for our present! It’s time to celebrate the great influence of Hispanic women and their impact on our world!
#1. Clara Campoamor (1888-1972) – Spain
Clara Campoamor Rodriguez was a Spanish politician, lawyer and writer. She defended the civil rights of Spanish women, and acted as one of the main promoters of women’s suffrage in the country, which was achieved in 1931.
Indeed, Clara was a pioneer in many things: She attended university when only a few women could; she was the second female lawyer in Madrid, and succeeded as the promoter of women’s right to vote in Spain. Without a doubt, Clara Campoamor is one of the most inspiring Hispanic women of all times!
#2. Petra Herrera (1887-1917) – Mexico
Petra Herrera was one of the few female soldiers that participated in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Since female soliders had little acceptance in the army, she used to dress as a man. Moeover, Petra changed her name to Pedro, and she kept her identity secret by pretending to do man-like habits, such as shaving every morning! This way, she avoided questions about her lack of facial hair. Isn’t that smart?
Throughout the revolution, Petra had an excellent reputation and showed great leadership. For instance, she reached the rank of captain and led a brigade of more 200 men. Even though Petra had some victories, Pancho Villa (General of the Mexican Revolution) always refused to give military credit to a woman. After some time, she revealed her real identity, but they removed her from the army.
Nevertheless, Petra did not give up and formed her own brigade, exclussive for women. Eventually, Herrera commanded a brigade of more than 1,000 women. Unfortunately, traditional history does not mention anything about this key female military figure.
#3. Ellen Ochoa (1958-) – United States
One can say that Ellen Ochoa is a living legend: She is an American veteran astronaut who was the first Hispanic woman to travel into space aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993.
Moreover, Ellen has investigated optical systems for information processing and she is the co-inventor on three patents and author of several technical papers. Ochoa has been recognised with NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, and became the director of Johnson Space Center in Houston in 2013.
#4. Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) – Mexico
I am sure you have heard about Frida Kahlo. She is one of the most iconic Hispanic women of the 20th century.
Frida started painting after being severely injured in a bus crash at the age of 18. During her lifetime, she had 30 operations because of that terrible accident.
As a result, topics such as life experience, grief and womanhood are common in Kahlo’s work. Her physical and emotional pain (because of her turbulent relationship with Diego Rivera) are the protagonists in her 200 sketches, paintings and drawings.
Nowadays, Mexico remembers Frida for her famous self-portraits, her passion and the vibrant colours she used in her works. She is also celebrated all over the world for bringing attention to Mexican and indigenous culture, and for her illustration of female experience.
Interested in her art? You can visit Frida’s house in Mexico City, where her personal belongings are on display as if she still lived there.
#5. Mercedes Sosa (1935-2009) – Argentina
Mercedes Sosa is considered as one of the mains figures of Argentinian and Latin American folklore.
She gave voice to songs written by Latin American songwriters. People called her “the voice of the voiceless ones”. During her musical career, Sosa received six Latin Grammy Awards and performed in amazing venues, such as the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City or the Roman Colosseum.
However, Mercedes Sosa is not only known for her brilliant music career! She also fought for human rights of the Latino people, and eventually became the Good Ambassador of UNESCO for Latin America and the Caribbean.
#6. María Moliner (1900-1981) – Spain
María Moliner was a very dedicated Spanish librarian and lexicographer.
Moliner is known for having spent over 15 years composing the Diccionario del Uso del Español (1966) at her home. María started working on her own Spanish dictionary in the early 1950s. She wanted to produce a unique dictionary that showed real language and its use.
María’s routine was as follows: She would get up at 5 a.m, dedicate some time to her dictionary, water her flowers and go to work. Her method was to look up for words, read newspapers and note words she had heard in the street.
The first edition of the dictionary, which encompassed over 190,000 definitions, was a total success. Even Gabriel García Márquez once said that María Moliner’s was the most complete, useful and fun Spanish dictionary ever written.
#7. Margarita Salas (1938-2019) – Spain
Margarita Salas was a Spanish scientist, medical researcher who succeeded in the fields of biochemistry and genetics.
She was the first scientific woman ever elected to the Royal Spanish Academy. In 2016, Salas received the Echegaray Medal, the highest scientific award granted by the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences. Shortly before her death, she was awarded the European Inventor Award. Margarita was also an outspoken advocate of women and feminism in science.
#8. Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) – Chile
Lucila Godoy Alcaya, known by her pseudonym Gabriela Mistral, was a Chilean poet, educator and humanist.
In 1945, Gabriela Mistral became the first Hispanic woman in receiving a Nobel Prize in Literature “for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions”. Some central themes in Mistral’s works are nature, a mother’s love, travel and Latin American identity.
Do you want to bring these Hispanic Women to your class?
Let’s celebrate Hispanic culture with these fantastic posters, which are ideal for a classroom display or to decorate the corridor of your Languages building. You can download this material on TES or Teachers Pay Teachers!
That’s all, amigos! I hope you have enjoyed this article about Hispanic Women that changed our world. You can find more interesting facts on the Culture section of this website. And if you want to continue learning about Hispanic culture, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!