16 Latin American Women Who Inspired Us

Mujeres Latinoamericanas

The 8th of March marks the celebration of International Women’s Day, a date commemorating the global struggle for women’s equal rights. At Sherlock, we want to remember some internationally recognised Latin Americans for their outstanding work across all areas of activism.

 

Rigoberta Menchú

latin american women - Rigoberta menchu

Guatemalan activist who has historically stood out for her leadership in the campaign for indigenous rights. Her career was recognised in 1992, when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

 

Zilda Arns

She was a Brazilian paediatrician who founded the Pastoral da Criança (Pastoral Care for Children), an institution which has achieved worldwide successes in the fight against child mortality. In 2002, Zilda was recognized as “Heroine of Public Health of the Americas” by the Pan American Health Organization but was tragically killed in the 2010 Haiti Earthquake whilst carrying out humanitarian work.

 

Elvia Carrillo Puerto

She was a feminist leader who helped achieve the right to vote for women in Mexico, and was notable for speeches in favour of birth control, sexual freedom, divorce and against what she considered the religious oppression of the time.

 

Eva Duarte de Perón

Eva Perón

An outstanding and controversial figure in Argentine history, she was a political leader who fought for the rights of both women, and those without rights. She ensured that over the 1951 elections, where women voted for the first time in the history of their country.

 

Soledad Acosta de Samper

Acosta was a Colombian journalist, historian, and author of 21 novels. She dedicated numerous social studies to the feminist theme and the role of women in society, and is considered a pioneer in feminism.

 

Blanca Varela

The Peruvian poetess was considered the most important female poetic voice in her country, and was the first female to win the Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize.

 

Eloísa Díaz Insunza

First Chilean and South American woman to become a doctor. The gynecologist specialised in female and childhood diseases, and was internationally regarded as an illustrious trailblazer of the Americas.

 

Maria da Penha

Maria da Penha

This Brazilian biochemist gave her name to Law 11.340 / 2006 or the “Maria da Penha Law”, aimed at combatting domestic violence against women in Brazil. In 1983, she was shot in the back by her husband leaving her confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

 

Débora Arango

Both a visionary and modern woman for her time, the painter addressed social and political issues through her watercolors. She was also the first Colombian woman to paint female nudes.

 

Alfonsina Storni

The Argentinian poet and playwright’s work embodied themes of feminism, developing through her poems the pain and anguish experienced by women of her time. Her literature addressed drama, audacity and eroticism, with the vindication of the right of women as a common denominator.

 

Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral

Poetess, diplomat, educator and feminist activist – this Chilean figure was influential in many fields of work. She was the first Latin American woman to be recognised with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.

 

Micaela Bastidas

She was an 18th Century indigenous warrior for the independence of Peru, leading an uprising alongside her husband Túpac Amaru II. Her determination to fight for her ideals of justice and freedom made her a symbol of the fight against Spanish oppression in Latin America.

 

Justina Inés Cima 

She founded the Women’s Farmers Movement in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Their struggle for the emancipation of women’s rights in rural areas is considered an example to follow.

 

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Kahlo was a self-taught Mexican painter, who used folk art as an influential critique on elements of Mexican pop culture in the early 20th Century. In 1939, her work was exhibited in France, and was subsequently the first by a Mexican artist to feature in the Louvre collection.

 

Violeta Parra

A Chilean folk musician, who is acknowledged as the “Mother of Latin American folk music”. Her work inspired countless artists worldwide, through both the artistic quality and strong character being distinctive in her music.

 

Esperanza Brito de Martí

She was a Mexican journalist and feminist recognised for being a prominent advocate for women’s sexual and reproductive rights for over 20 years. She also directed Fem magazine, one of the first feminist publications in Latin America.

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