Celebrate International Women's Day with the World's Most Influential Latina Leaders

In her first major trip since becoming head of the newly created UN Women, the United Nations’ agency for gender equality, Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet celebrated International Women’s Day today in Liberia, alongside the African country’s first female president. It was a joyous moment, with Bachelet taking part in local dances and visiting a market in the capital of Monrovia, but she also spoke to reporters about the serious and crucial issues that UN Women is tackling on behalf of half the world’s population.

With women making up only 19 percent of the heads of state and 76 percent of women reporting that they’ve been victims of violence, those issues range from educating women and developing them into leaders to ending violence against girls and women.  She highlighted the value of women worldwide as both opposition fighters and post-violence negotiators and peacekeepers, and underlined the need to empower women economically. But she signaled the dire need to give women leadership skills to take on governments who historically ignore women’s needs. “Women are very important agents of peace and change,” she said, adding about her job: “I am full of hope, energy and commitment.”

Bachelet herself is a prime example of how high women can reach. She speaks five languages, and as Chile’s first female president, led the nation in some of the country’s most sweeping social reforms ever.  When she left office in 2009 due to term limits, she had an unprecedented 80 percent approval rating.

She’s hardly alone as a Latina high-achiever.

Here are other Latina women who are uber-influential in their countries and beyond and who serve as an example of how much we have and can accomplish. Happy International Women’s Day!

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About this author

Damarys Ocaña Perez,

Damarys Ocaña Perez is Director of Editorial Content at Latina Media Ventures. She leads its magazine, Latina, the pre-eminent beauty, fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine for acculturated U.S. Hispanic women and is responsible for maintaining Latina’s voice, vision and mission across all LMV platforms. Born in Havana and raised in Miami, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

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