50+ Most Influential Latin American Women in History for Hispanic Heritage Month (2023)

50+ Most Influential Latin American Women in History for Hispanic Heritage Month (1)

Since 1968, Latinx communities have celebrated autumn in the United States.Hispanic Heritage Month(Septemberfifteen-October15) is a tribute to the contributions and culture of Latinos and Hispanics. To mark the occasion, here are 52 of the most influential Latina women in history. They are revolutionaries who have broken down barriers and repeatedly demonstrated that “yes we can”, a term coined by Latin American civil rights activists.Dolores Hurta.

These women made great strides in civil rights, politics, entertainment, and even went to space. We've included the woman who wrote the original lyrics to the Puerto Rican national anthem, the Latina who fought to end segregation in the school system, and the Latina author who became the first Latin American to win a Nobel Prize. Additionally, a Latina helped farm workers win American labor rights, a Latina was the first general surgeon, and a Latina is one of the greatest female golfers of all time. Read on to learn more about the accomplishments and contributions of these 52 influential Latinas.

50+ Influential Latina Women

Dolores Hurta

huertais a civil rights activist and union leader. He campaigned tirelessly for farm workers to have labor rights in the United States and co-founded the National Association of Agricultural Workers with César Chávez. Huerta, 92, coined the term si, se puede (yes, we can) in 1972.

silvia del villard

The actress, dancer and activist speaks out against discrimination. He founded the Teatro Afro-Boricua El Coqui to showcase black Puerto Rican culture. In the 1970s, he spoke out about the racism faced by black performers, including racist casting practices and limited opportunities for black actors.

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Gloria Estefan

Estefan is one of America's most popular artistsMusicStory. During her legendary career, Estefan sold more than 100 million records, had 38 #1 hits on the Billboard charts and won sevenGrammy. She is also an actress, songwriter and author of twoNew York TimesBestselling children's books and a philanthropist.

Joan Baez

Music used its contemporary folk music to create protest songs about social justice.baezhas been performing publicly for over 60 years and has released over 30 albums. She sang "We Shall Overcome" at the 1963 March on Washington for Civil Rights.

Maria Hinojosa

hinojosais the presenter and executive producer ofLatin Americaon National Public Radio, a public radio program dedicated to Latino issues. She helped startLatin Americain 1992 and has worked for CNN in addition to writing two books. The journalist also hosted her own show on PBS for five years.Maria Hinojosa: One after the other, a talk show.

good galan

Prinzis an independent producer and former president of Telemundo Entertainment. He created and produced the television program Telemundoreality.Cinderella,the inclusion of English subtitles in the program to appeal to both Spanish and English speaking audiences, helping to make it one of Telemundo's highest-rated programs in its 50-year history.

Claudia peace and peace

Paz y Paz was Guatemala's first female attorney general. She made history by indicting a head of state for genocide in a national court and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.


The singer, songwriter, businesswoman, philanthropist, actress and fashion designer is one of the best-selling Latin American artists of all time.ThaliaHe has had 29 top 10 singles (15 of which reached #1) and has sold over 50 million records.

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Felisa Rincon de Gautier

Known as Doña Fela, she was the first woman elected mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, making her America's first female mayor. She participated in the suffrage movement and transformed San Juan.

Lola Rodríguez de Tió

She was the first Puerto Rican-born poet to achieve fame in Latin America and wrote the revolutionary original lyrics to "La Borinqueña", the national anthem of Puerto Rico. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery and equality for women. Her political actions caused problems. with the Spanish authorities and was banished from the island.

Linda Alvarado

Alvarado is the first Latino woman to co-own a Major League Baseball team and the first woman to be involved in a formal offer of ownership of a Major League Baseball team.baseballGear.

Nancy Lopez

lopezShe is one of the greatest golfers of all time. She was the game's top player from the late 1970s through the late 1980s. The golfer won 48 LPGA Tour events, including three championships.

Dr. Antonia Novello

Novella was the first woman, first person of color, and first Latina to be appointed Surgeon General of the United States by George Bush, serving from 1990 to 1993.

elena ochoa

Ochoa was the first Latina astronaut to go into space. She served the nine-day mission aboard Discovery and became Johnson Space Center's first Latinx director.

Sonja Nazario

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist spent her storied career inLos Angeles TimesCovers issues of social justice and immigration with a focus on how these factors affect children who immigrate to the United States from Central America.

Isabel Allende

The prolific Chilean writer is considered the most read Spanish author in the world. Many of his books relate to the magical realism genre. One of his most famous titlesThe haunted house, crosses the crossroads of mysticism and political malaise.

Laura Esquivel

The Mexican author made history with her first novelLike water for chocolatewhich became a bestseller and was made into an award-winning blockbuster movie. Esquivel is also a politician from the Morena Party.

Celia Cruz

The Cuban singer-songwriter is the undisputed queen ofsalsa! La Guarachera de Cuba is one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century and was the first Latina to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

sonia sotomayor

Justice Sotomayor is the first Latino justice on the United States Supreme Court and the third woman to serve as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Rita Moreno

Moreno is one of the few artists to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. The actress, singer and dancer has been performing for over 70 years and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Eva Peron

Evita was the wife of Argentine President Juan Perón. She served as First Lady from 1946 until her untimely death in 1952. She spoke openly for unions and workers' rights. He headed the Departments of Labor and Health and campaigned for women's suffrage. Perón founded Argentina's first major women's party, the Partido Peronista de Mujeres.

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Frida Kahlo

The world-renowned Mexican painter's work is celebrated for her harrowing self-portraits, which focus on themes such as miscarriage, heartbreak, colonialism and political angst.KahloShe started painting as a coping mechanism while recovering from a traumatic accident that left her with serious injuries for the rest of her life.Life.

Virginia toast of the room

Brindis de Salas is the first black woman in Latin America to publish a book. The 1947 titleMarimorenas Proklamationdiscussed the exploitation and discrimination of black women in Uruguay.

The Mirabal Sisters

Patria, Minerva, María Teresa and Dedé were four Dominican nuns who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and were active against his regime. Patria, Minerva and María Teresa were murdered on the 25thNovember1960. They posthumously became symbols of feminist resistance. In her honor, the United Nations General Assembly declared November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Congratulations Mendez

Mendez is a civil rights pioneer. She took over the leadershipTrainingin the historic annulment case Mendez v. Westminster, which paved the way for Brown v. Board of Education.

Carolina Herrera

The Venezuelan stylist has one of the most famous careers in the sector. Her elegant gowns have been worn by many First Ladies including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush andMichelleObama.

Gabriela Mistral

Lucila Godoy Alcayaga was a Chilean poet, known by the pseudonym Gabriela Mistral. She was the first Latin American author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.

Selena Quintanilla

The queen of Tejano music received a lot of accolades in her tragically short life. Their 1990 album,come with me, was Tejano's first gold record, as it sold over 500,000 albums and eventually went double platinum. The singer was the first Tejano artist to win the award for Best Mexican-American AlbumLife!no Grammy de 1993.dreams with youIt was released after her death and peaked on the Billboard Top 200 in 1995, becoming the first album by a Latina to reach number one.

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Jennifer Lopez

J.Lo became the first Latina to earn $1 million for a movie role when she played Selena Quintanilla in 1997.selenaBiopic He joined Shakira to perform during the filmSuper Bowl 2020 halftime show– the first time the two Latin singers shared the stage.


The Grammy winner made her recording debut with Sony Music Colombia when she was 13. Her name means elegant in Arabic, a fitting name for this powerful artist. Their music and dance are influenced by their Lebanese heritage. She is philanthropic: her Pies Descalzos Foundation helps Colombian children escape situations of violence.

Silvia Oliver

Olivas was the first Latina to win an Emmy for a screenplay. He took home the writing prize.Elena von Avalor, Disney's first Latina princess show.

Jennifer Barreto-Leyva

Barreto-Leyva is the first plus size Latina model and also editor-in-chief ofXL Beauty Magazine, the world's first and only magazine for plus size Latinos.

Leonora Carrington

Carrington was one of the most important surrealists. Based in Mexico City, she was an important participant in the surrealist movement of the 1930s. The artist was also a founding member of the women's liberation movement in Mexico.

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Raquel Walch

The Bolivian actress and singer has won a Golden Globe and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was recognized with the Imagen Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for her positive promotion of Latinx heritage.

lupe serrano

The ballerina was the first Latin dancer for the American Ballet Theater.serranoShe later became the lead dancer and danced in over 50 performances.

Lucia Topolansky

The former Tupamaro (leftist guerrilla group that tried to overthrow the Uruguayan military junta) became Uruguay's first female vice president in 2017. During her time as Tupamaro, Topolansky was arrested twice, served 13 years in prison and was often tortured. . He helped legalize marijuana and same-sex marriage in Uruguay.

Gabriela's Island

Miss Universe 2013 uses her clout as a beauty queen to draw attention to political unrest in Venezuela. She is the seventh Miss Universe from Venezuela. Isler's charity, the Universe of Blessings Fund, is dedicated to projects to empower women.

Rigoberta Menchu

The Guatemalan human rights activist defends the rights of indigenous peoples and educates her community on how to fight oppression. Her work for social justice was recognized when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.

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Soledad O'Brien

Award-winning journalist O'Brien hosts her nationally syndicated weekly political program of the same name,A natural thing in Soledad O'Brien. She is one of the most influential Latina voices in media and owner of multiplatform media production company Starfish Media Group.

Christiana Figueres

As Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Olsen is one of the leading voices on the climate crisis. She is responsible for enforcing the 2015 agreement that saw governments around the world commit to signing a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change.

Gloria Anzaldua

The theorist has made numerous contributions in the fields of feminism, cultural theory, and queer theory. She was known for including Chicano women and fighting against segregation. Her essays are seminal texts in the burgeoning field of Latin philosophy. she co-editedThat Bridge Called Me Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colorwhich was one of the first books to place women of color at the center of feminist discussions.

Bertha Cáceres

The award-winning indigenous environmental activist led a successful grassroots campaign against a proposed dam on the Gualcarque River. The river is sacred to the Lenca, and his efforts have protected his tribe's access to water, food and medicine. His murder in 2016 sparked global outrage and drew attention to the high death rates of environmentalists.

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Lizzie Velasquez

Motivational speakers advocate for Latinos with disabilities. He was born with a rare congenital condition that has many health implications, including an inability to gain weight. She was bullied online and overcame the horrible comments to become a bullying advocate.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Freedman-Gurspan is a strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States government, particularly transgender people of color, and was the first openly transgender person to serve in the White House, where President Barack Obama named her the top LGBTQ liaison officer. problems.

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Sandra Cisneros

The award-winning author is a key figure in Chicano literature. He is a poet, short story writer, novelist and essayist. His work focuses on Latinx activism and culture, including his famous story,The house on Mango Street.

Chita coast

Riva, one of Broadway's most famous stars, is a triple threat. She is a dancer, actress and singer. She was the first Latina to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and won two Tony Awards.

Silvia Rivera

Rivera was a transgender rights activist. He struggled to add "T" to LGBTQ+. She was a community organizer in New York City and co-founder of STAR, which served homeless LGBTQ+ youth and joined the Gay Liberation Front protests.

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zoe saldana

The Afro-Latin actor, director and producer has had an immensely successful career with many critically acclaimed roles. She uses her fame to raise awareness of the queer community and the importance of diverse representation in Hollywood.

Amerika Ferrera

Ferrera is an actress turned activist. She is involved in many charities that benefit at-risk children and is a co-founder of Harness, an advocacy organization that aims to connect communities through conversation to inspire action and power shifts. She often lends her voice to support democratic politicians and was recently releasedshe canwith Eva Longoria to create a space for Latinas to share their stories.

Eva Longoria

The beauty pageant-winning actress has had a wildly successful career in Hollywood, including producing several shows. She is politically active and helped lead President Barack Obama's re-election.LongoriaHe is dedicated to supporting immigrants and is known for speaking out against anti-immigration laws. He founded the Latino Victory Project to encourage the Latinx community to come out and vote.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The deputy is known by her initials AOC. She is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress; today she is the United States Representative for New York's 14th congressional district. She advocates for laws that benefit workers, women and immigrants. He speaks openly about the climate crisis and has sponsored the Green New Deal.

Sofia Vergara

The Colombian comedian is the highest paid actress on television. She was nominated for Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards for her role as Gloria Pritchett on the ABC series.Modern Family.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

The innovative politician was the first Latina to serve in the US Congress. She was the first Republican in Congress to support the Marriage Equality Act.

Maria Elena Salinas

Salinas was an American television presenter for 30 years, an unprecedented achievement in her career. She has been dubbed the "Voice of Spanish America".Los New York Timesand was the first Latina to receive an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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