On the occasion of Women’s History Month and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Time magazine wanted to honor women that have changed the world. This comprehensive list — 100 Women of the Year — includes ten women each year between 1920 and 2010, and the result is beautiful.
We can sometimes, naively, presume that female game-changers are only women that we read about in history class like Amelia Earheart and pioneers like Hillary Clinton. While those groundbreakers are on the list, some of them were once overlooked, powerful women on the sidelines, musical artists, women who weren’t looking to be famous but just wanted to help others, women who changed the cultural landscape with their talent, and women who shifted the conversation forever.
“Their influence in public and private life was not always positive,” Nancy Gibbs writes in Time, “part of this exercise is acknowledging failures and blind spots as well as genius and vision.”
We want to highlight the Latinas featured on this list and pay tribute to their legacy.
The 1930s: Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo’s legacy may not have been known during her lifetime. But she was building change through her words, her defiance, her love, and, of course, her art, even if that wasn’t necessarily her intention. Kahlo was simply living her life, wanting to love and create as much as possible. Her fighting and fierce spirit have inspired countless people for years to come. If she knew then that people would be honoring her and her work with such vitality today, she probably wouldn’t believe it but deep down would understand why.
The 1940s: Eva Peron
Behind every great man, there is a great woman. Eva Perón defined the role of the First Lady and executed so much for the people of Argentina by doing more than standing by her man. She was a leader, if not more than her husband, General Juan Domingo Perón. “Eva used her influence to divert money to massive social programs, funding schools, orphanages and hospitals,” Time writes. “Her support was also crucial to the passage of women’s suffrage in 1947.” Her legacy continues to be an inspiration.
The 1960s: The Mirabal Sisters (Patria, Maria Teresa, Minerva)
They say, “a sister is worth a thousand friends.” If you have the bond of sisterhood, you can do anything. The Mirabal sisters — Patria, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal — proved the power of sisterhood and took down a heartless dictator. For 31 years, Rafael Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic and punished anyone who fought against his regime, but the Mirabal sisters were not afraid. They “helped to organize and grow the underground movement challenging the regime, and were repeatedly arrested for their activities.” They never stopped fighting for the people, even when all three women were eventually killed at the ages of 36, 34, and 25, they inspired their people. It was their murders that launched an assassination of Trujillo.
The 1960s: Rita Moreno
“Move over fellas… this girl is one of @time’s 100 WOMEN of the Year! It just keeps getting better and better…” That is Rita Moreno’s spitfire personality that has given her a staggering career that has spanned decades. She has taught us that with passion and tenacity, we can accomplish anything. From singing, dancing, and acting, Moreno’s illuminating presence is thankfully still with us today. We’re so grateful that we have a fierce Latina leading the way because we need her light now more than ever.
The 1960s: Dolores Huerta
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"Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world." 💥✊🏼 Porweful words to live by from civil rights icon and #LatinaTrailblazer, Dolores Huerta (@doloreshuerta) What quotes 💬 are inspiring YOU during #WomensHistoryMonth? Share them in the comments below! 👇🏼 #WednesdayWisdom
All she wanted was fundamental human rights for farmworkers. In order to do that, Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez had to fight tooth and nail for Latino workers. Together they founded the United Farm Workers, an organization that continues to be a powerful entity today. Huerta’s fighting spirit is an example of what the resistance movement is all about. “We have been learning from Huerta for decades,” Ai-jen Poo writes in Time. “She saw a need to address working poverty at its root and remains one of our nation’s greatest labor leaders. When we see injustice, may we all seek to organize power, as Huerta did, and may we do so with her unstoppable strength and determination.” Si Se Puede, indeed.