Feminism is at the forefront of public discussions these days, with celebrities like Emma Watson and Taylor Swift coming forward to give voice to what feminism represents. And as more celebrities join in on the conversation, the understanding of feminism and the movement only continues to grow. Sometimes, Latinas can be left out of the conversation, but it doesn’t mean that we are not out there fighting for women’s rights. As a matter of fact, here are 10 Latinas that are doing just that.
1. Ana Tijoux
This French-Chilean rapper works in a very male-dominated area. Her latest album has a song called Antipatriarca. But this doesn’t mean she is against men. In an interview with DemocracyNow, she explains that Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano inspires her and his works have been important in her life. Tijoux further explains that she grew up knowing about strong men, and it made her question where the strong women were. “And you see, OK, Camilo Cienfuegos, Che Guevara, Martí, Simón Bolívar—and where are the women? Like, it’s like—so, I decided to make that song called Antipatriarca.”
2. Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta went from being a teacher to working with farm workers. She was one of the first women negotiating contracts. She played just as big a role as Cesar Chavez in fighting for the rights of farm workers — seriously. When Chavez asked if she would be OK with him being the face of the movement, she agreed. Huerta also told him that women were necessary to their success. “I said, ‘Look, we’ve gotta get more women to be involved, more women on our executive board, more women on our ranch committees,” she said. “And Cesar and I actually discussed this, and he was OK with that.”
3. Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria is becoming just as well known for her activism as she is for her roles. In 2013, she was honored by the YWCA at the “What Women Want” annual conference. Dara Richardson-Heron, the YWCA USA CEO, explained that Longoria was being honored because of her focus on women’s voting. “As a longtime admirer of the programs the YWCA offers to empower women of all backgrounds, I am truly honored to receive this award,” Longoria said.
4. Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor is a noteworthy Latina because of her position as a Supreme Court Justice. Not only does she represent a strong woman, she is rooting for other women, too. “Don’t give up,” she said to a room of mostly women at an event in San Francisco organized by Watermark. “The greatest obstacle to your own success is your own fear. Failure is never fun. But each time you fail, you learn something. It’s often said that one should fight to the last person standing. Hey, they’re still standing. And as a woman, I hope it’s us.”
5. Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson played Dolores Huerta in the “Cesar Chavez” biopic, but the actress originally wanted to play her in a movie that revolved around Huerta. And while the actress has said she wants to play strong, beautiful women, she knows that it’s not really the best move for women. “And to really have true equality, it also means representing the women out there who sometimes aren’t the best and sometimes do make mistakes,” she said. “…That’s why it’s extremely important for women to be writing their own stories. Truly crafting these stories, writing them down, directing them and giving them to people to really emotionally become impacted by.”
6. Dilma Roussef
Dilma Roussef is the first female president of Brazil, and though her life has not been short on controversies, she has been very vocal about her opinions of what women can accomplish. In 2011, she said, “I speak to you with a feminine voice. It’s the voice of democracy, of equality. I am certain that this will be the women’s century.”
7. Sandra Cisneros
8. Aurora Levins Morales
Puerto Rican author Aurora Levins Morales has been an activist from an early age. (She was even the youngest member of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union!) Her family inspired and encouraged her to be a feminist. She explained: “So there is a tradition on my father’s side of the family of a very strong feminist activist woman taking leader in that family, and you know, I think it has a lot to do with my father’s feminism.
I asked him on a recent visit to me whether he had any regrets in his life and his answer kind of blew me away, which was that he regretted not having grasped sooner the personal implications of feminism.”
9. Ellen Ochoa
Ellen Ochoa is known as the first Hispanic female astronaut, and growing up, she wasn’t always encouraged to aim high. “Usually, girls weren’t encouraged to go to college and major in math and science,” she said. “My high school calculus teacher, Ms. Paz Jensen, made math appealing and motivated me to continue studying it in college.”
10. Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek defines feminism as being proud to be a woman. As well as having “love, respect and admiration and the belief in our strong capacities. I don’t think we are the same, women and men. We’re different. But I don’t think we are less than men.” Hayek also joined Gucci and Beyonce for the campaign Chime for Change, which seeks to empower women.