In celebration of International Women’s Day, we honor the resilience, creativity, and indomitable spirit of Latina feminist icons who have shaped history and continue to inspire change.

From trailblazing artists and writers to fearless activists and leaders, these women have left an indelible mark on society. They challenged norms and paved the way for future generations.

On this International Women’s Day, we want to delve into the rich tapestry of Latina feminist history. We do so by highlighting the stories and legacies of iconic figures whose courage and determination have ignited movements and transformed societies.

From the powerful self-portraits of Frida Kahlo to the literary brilliance of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; from the groundbreaking activism of Dolores Huerta to the poetic resonance of Gloria Anzaldúa, these women embody the strength, resilience, and diversity of Latina feminist voices.

Ana Mendieta (1948 – 1985) 

Ana Mendieta was a Cuban-American artist known for her groundbreaking work in performance, video, and earth art. Her art often explored themes of identity, feminism, and spirituality. Mendieta left a lasting impact on the feminist art movement of the 1970s and beyond.

Argelia Laya (1926 – 1997)

Argelia Laya was an Afro-Venezuelan educator and women’s rights activist. From the late 1940s, she worked in the National Union of Women’s Organization. During her early years as an educator, she had a child and was suspended from teaching for being unmarried. Since then, she campaigned for women’s rights to vote, to be unmarried mothers, and to have abortions.

Aurora Levins Morales (1954)

Another of our favorite Latina feminist icons is Aurora Levins Morales. The Puerto Rican writer, poet, and activist has been acclaimed for her insightful explorations of identity, social justice, and activism. Her writings span various genres, including poetry, essays, and memoirs. Her work has significantly contributed to feminist and Latino literature, as well as environmental activism.

Berta Cáceres (1971 – 2016)

Berta Cáceres was a Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader. She was known for her fearless advocacy for indigenous rights and environmental conservation. Cáceres co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). She dedicated her life to fighting against land exploitation and human rights abuses in Honduras.

Cecilia Vicuña (1948)

Cecilia Vicuña is a Chilean poet, visual artist, and activist. She is known for her innovative blend of poetry, performance, and visual art. Her works often center on themes of nature, indigenous culture, and social justice. Her narrative challenges conventional artistic boundaries and advocates for environmental and cultural sustainability.

Cherríe Moraga (1952)

Cherríe Moraga is a Chicana writer, playwright, and feminist activist. She went down in history for her groundbreaking contributions to Chicana literature and queer theory. Her works often explore themes of identity, sexuality, and social justice, shedding light on the experiences of queer women of color in the United States.

Clarice Lispector (1920 – 1977)

Clarice Lispector was a Brazilian novelist and short story writer acclaimed for her introspective and existential exploration of the human psyche. Her works often blur the lines between reality and fiction, challenging readers to question the nature of identity.

Comandanta Ramona (1959 – 2006)

Comandanta Ramona was a prominent indigenous leader and spokesperson for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas, Mexico. She played a crucial role in the indigenous uprising of 1994 and became a symbol of resistance against oppression.

Dolores Huerta (1930)

Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader and civil rights activist known for her instrumental role in co-founding the United Farm Workers (UFW) union alongside Cesar Chavez. She has dedicated her life to advocating for the rights of farmworkers, women, and marginalized communities, earning numerous awards and accolades for her activism.

Ellen Ochoa (1958)

Ellen Ochoa is an American engineer, astronaut, and former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. In 1993, she became the first Latina to travel to space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Ochoa has made significant contributions to space exploration and STEM education, inspiring future generations of scientists and engineers.

Elvia Carrillo Puerto (1878 – 1968)

Elvia Carrillo Puerto was a Mexican feminist activist and politician known for pioneering efforts in advocating for women’s rights and social justice. She played a key role in the Mexican Revolution and championed causes such as women’s suffrage, education, and labor rights throughout her life.

Eloísa Díaz (1866 -1950)

Eloísa Díaz was a pioneering Chilean physician and women’s rights advocate. She was recognized as the first female medical student and physician in Chile. She dedicated her career to improving healthcare access for women and children, advocating for social reforms, and advancing women’s rights in Chilean society.

Eva Perón (1919 – 1952)

Eva Perón, also known as Evita, was the First Lady of Argentina and a prominent political figure in Argentine history. She was a champion of labor rights, women’s suffrage, and social justice, gaining widespread popularity and support among the working class for her advocacy on behalf of the poor and marginalized.

Excilia Saldaña (1946 – 1999)

Excilia Saldaña was an Afro-Cuban poet and educator renowned for her dual roles as a teacher and poet. Graduating from the Pedagogical Institute, she taught children’s literature at several universities, leaving a lasting impression on Cuban education. As a poet, Saldaña’s work delved into the intricate layers of women’s roles, blending Afro-Cuban traditions and personal experiences. Her poetry, often autobiographical, addressed themes of abandonment, incest, sexual violence, and redemption through female solidarity. 

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter known for her iconic self-portraits and vivid depictions of Mexican culture and identity. She remains one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, revered for her unique artistic style, resilience in the face of adversity, and contributions to feminist art movements.

Gloria Anzaldúa (1942 – 2004)

Gloria Anzaldúa was a Chicana feminist theorist, writer, and activist known for her groundbreaking contributions to feminist and queer theory. Her influential book “Borderlands/La Frontera” explores the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and cultural identity, challenging dominant narratives and advocating for social justice and equality.

Hermila Galindo (1886 – 1954)

Hermila Galindo was a Mexican feminist activist, writer, and suffragist known for her tireless advocacy for women’s rights and suffrage in Mexico. She played a pivotal role in the Mexican feminist movement of the early 20th century. Galindo was an early supporter of many radical feminist issues, primarily sex education in schools, women’s suffrage, and divorce.

Isabel Allende (1942)

Isabel Allende is a Chilean-American writer acclaimed for her captivating novels and storytelling prowess. Her works often blend elements of magical realism, historical fiction, and social commentary, exploring themes of love, loss, identity, and political upheaval in Latin America.

Joan Baez (1941)

Joan Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, and activist known for her powerful voice and unwavering commitment to social justice causes. She became a prominent figure in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, using her music as a tool for activism and advocacy for peace and equality.

Jovita Idar (1885 – 1946)

Jovita Idar was an influential Mexican-American journalist, educator, and civil rights activist known for her advocacy for Mexican Americans and immigrants during the Mexican Revolution era. Starting her journalism career at her father’s newspaper in Laredo, Texas, she used her writing to address social issues and promote change. She played a significant role in establishing the League of Mexican Women, focusing on providing education to Mexican children in Laredo, and participated actively in organizations advocating for improved access to education and economic resources for Mexican-Americans. In recognition of her contributions, Idar was honored on an American Women quarter in 2023.

Julia de Burgos (1914 – 1953) 

Julia de Burgos was a Puerto Rican poet and civil rights activist known for her passionate poetry and advocacy for Puerto Rican independence and women’s rights. Her poetry often reflects themes of love, identity, and social justice, inspiring generations of poets and activists.

Mariana Costa Checa (1986)

Mariana Costa Checa is a Peruvian entrepreneur and social activist. She is recognized for her pioneering work in promoting women’s empowerment and technology education in Peru. She co-founded Laboratoria, a nonprofit organization that provides coding and tech training to young women from underserved communities.

Martha P. Cotera (1938)

Martha P. Cotera is a Chicana feminist activist and historian known for her influential contributions to Chicana feminist literature and activism. Her groundbreaking book “Diosa y Hembra” explores the history and contributions of Chicana women to the feminist movement, challenging traditional narratives and advocating for intersectional feminism and social justice.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1959)

Rigoberta Menchú Tum is a Guatemalan indigenous rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate known for her courageous advocacy for indigenous rights, social justice, and reconciliation in Guatemala. She became an international symbol of indigenous resistance and empowerment.

Rosario Castellanos (1925 – 1974)

Rosario Castellanos was a Mexican poet and author. She has been acclaimed for her insightful explorations of gender, identity, and social justice in Mexican society. Her works often address themes of feminism and cultural identity, earning her recognition as one of Mexico’s most important literary figures of the 20th century.

Roxane Gay (1974)

Roxane Gay is a Haitian-American writer, professor, and cultural critic known for her incisive essays, fiction, and memoirs. Her writing explores issues of race, gender, sexuality, and body image. Her bestselling essay collection “Bad Feminist” and memoir “Hunger” have garnered widespread acclaim for their honesty, vulnerability, and thought-provoking insights into contemporary society and culture.

Selva Almada (1973)

Selva Almada is an Argentine writer acclaimed for her powerful storytelling and exploration of social issues in contemporary Argentina. Her works often delve into themes of gender, violence, and social inequality, shedding light on the lives of marginalized individuals and communities in Argentine society.

Sandra Cisneros (1954)

Sandra Cisneros is a Mexican-American writer known for her acclaimed novel “The House on Mango Street” and her groundbreaking contributions to Chicana literature and feminist discourse. Her works often explore themes of identity, culture, and the immigrant experience, capturing the complexities of Chicano life in the United States.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648 – 1695)

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was a Mexican nun, poet, and intellectual prodigy. She was known as “The Tenth Muse” for her extraordinary literary talent and contributions to Spanish Baroque literature. Her poetry and essays often challenged societal norms and gender roles, advocating for women’s education and intellectual freedom in colonial Mexico.

Sylvia Rivera (1951 – 2002)

Sylvia Rivera was a Latina transgender activist known for her pioneering role in the LGBTQ rights movement in the U.S. She co-founded the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, advocating for the rights and visibility of transgender and homeless communities, particularly transgender people of color.

The Mirabal Sisters 

The Mirabal Sisters, also known as the “Butterflies,” were four Dominican sisters. Patria, Minerva, María Teresa, and Dedé are known for their courageous resistance against Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. They became symbols of opposition to tyranny and oppression in the Dominican Republic.