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Famous Hispanic Women

Women of Hispanic Heritage


Hispanic women have contributed to the culture of the world and to American history. In this list, I've focused on a few women of Hispanic heritage in the New World.

Isabel Allende

A Chilean journalist who fled Chile when her uncle, Salvador Allende, was overthrown and assassinated, Isabel Allende moved first to Venezuela and then to the United States. She has written several popular novels, including the autobiographical novel . Her writing is often about the experience of women from a "magic realism" perspective.

Joan Baez

Folksinger Joan Baez, whose father was a physicist born in Mexico, was part of the 1960s folk revival, and she has continued to sing and work for peace and human rights.

Empress Carlota of Mexico

European in heritage, Carlota (Born Princess Charlotte of Belgium) was married to Maximilian, archduke of Austria, who was established as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon III. She spent her last 60 years suffering from severe mental illness -- probably depression -- in Europe.

Linda Chavez

Conservative commentator and author, Linda Chavez served in the American Federation of Teachers, then in President Reagan's administration. Her "nanny-gate" problems kept her from confirmation as United States Labor Secretary under George W. Bush.

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta was a co-founder of the United Farm Workers, and has been an activist for labor, Hispanic and women's rights.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter whose primitive-like style reflected Mexican folk culture, her own pain and suffering, both physical and emotional.

Muna Lee

Author, feminist, and Pan-Americanist, Muna Lee worked for women's rights as well as advocating for Latin American literature.

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa, selected as an astronaut candidate in 1990, flew on NASA space missions in 1993, 1994, 1999, and 2002.

Lucy Parsons

Of mixed heritage (she claimed Mexican and Native American but also likely had African background), she became associated with radical movements and labor. Her husband was among those executed in the so-called Haymarket Riot of 1886. She spent the rest of her life working for labor, the poor, and for radical change.

Sonia Sotomayor

Raised in poverty, Sonia Sotomayor excelled in school, attended Princeton and Yale, worked as a prosecutor and lawyer in private practice, and then was nominated to the federal bench in 1991. She became the first Hispanic justice and third woman on the United States Supreme Court in 2009.
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