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Latina columnist notes absence of US Latinas on list of notable women

LatinaLista — Tuesday, March 8 was International Women’s Day. In celebration of the significance of the day, many publications published their lists of outstanding women. One such publication was The Daily Beast that published an interactive slide show entitled “150 Women Who Shake the World.


It was great seeing women represented from all different countries and from all walks of U.S. life. Yet, it becomes apparent, especially when you’re looking for it, that there has been a grievous omission — U.S. Latinas.

Though there are Latinas from South and Central America represented, that is not the same as a Latina who is a U.S. citizen.

Some in the Latina community took notice of this dismal oversight. My friend, La Opinion journalist Pilar Marrero, devoted a thought-provoking column to the issue.

The following is the translation of her original article that appeared in Spanish in La Opinion.

“Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, recognized by the United Nations. That there is a specific day of the year to celebrate women is, I believe, a sign that we have not progressed far enough to not have to have a particular day that celebrates our existence on earth.

In Wikipedia the history of International Women’s Day is linked to the labor movement and the pursuit of labor demands that began in Europe in the early twentieth century. Much of that struggle continues today, and is still more acute in developed countries like the United States when it comes to immigrant and minority women, who sometimes are not even reflected in the dominant feminist world.

One example will suffice, yesterday my friend and colleague, Cecilia Alvear, former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the first Latina TV news producer on an American network (NBC), expressed her annoyance at the absence of U.S. Latinas in a list of the 150 women “who have shaken the world”, published by The Daily Beast, a web publication of news and opinion founded and directed by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair.

The list is short, considering that it is global, but they still found room for 62 women in the United States, including actresses like Ashley Judd and Angelina Jolie, who are included for their social and philanthropic work . The only U.S. Latina is swimmer Dara Torres, of Hispanic-Jewish origin, who made history in previous Olympics by winning a gold medal at age 41.

Without detracting from Torres, it seems incredible that a publication of the category of The Daily Beast will not consider any other U.S. Latinas as worthy of a place in the list. Among the best known three names come to mind Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Farmworkers Leader Dolores Huerta, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. But I’m sure there are many others, both in the corporate world and in philanthropy, education or politics that might have qualified.

The majority of U.S. women in this list are white. There are African-American women such as Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Condoleezza Rice. There are immigrants such as the British-Iranian, reporter Christian Amanpour and the new media tycoon of Greek origin, Arianna Huffington.

But U.S. Latinas are absent.

Maybe it’s because the same “mainstream media” usually does not present positive images of Latinos.

Perhaps because those who edit those websites and make editorial decisions do not include Latinos when they prepare lists of this nature.

Latinos are 15.8% of the population of the United States, 48.4 million people, the second largest group and and we are clearly growing in all states, even the most remote ones.

Latina women are leaders in many fields: there are prominent professors, scientists, journalists, lawyers, activists. For now, however, we still have to struggle to be taken into account for such achievements in this country, in which the struggle for women’s equality has been so important, but where some groups are still not fully recognized.”

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