Women’s History Month: 5 Latina Trailblazers Who’ve Made History

With Women’s History Month upon us, we would like to take the time to reflect on all the amazing and talented women who have inspired and paved the way for success and acknowledge 5 Latinas who have made a strong impact in their respective industries. Check out the following list of Latina trailblazers who have utilized their talents, intelligence, and creativity which have strongly impacted the world.

 1. Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta has made her mark as one of the most iconic Latina leaders to date. A civil rights activist and leader in the labor movement, she is known for co-founding the United Farmworkers Association along with Cesar Chavez. The organization eventually merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee which then became the United Farms Workers of America becoming an important labor union for farm workers. As a Mexican-American, Huerta became an essential leader in the Chicano Movement and is known for the catchphrase “Si Se Puede”, a widely popular phrase amongst Latinos. In 2012, Huerta received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award and currently runs the “Dolores Huerta Foundation,” in California.

 2. Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera

Known as a world-renowned fashion designer, Venezuelan-born Carolina Herrera broke barriers in the fashion world by becoming one of the most influential Latina fashion designers in history. Launching her brand in the early 1980s, Herrera’s elegant designs have been worn by some of the most famous women in the world including Queen Letizia of Spain, Jackie Kennedy, Laura Bush, and actress Sandra Bullock. Herrera’s company’s headquarters are stationed in New York City and continue to showcase innovative and sophisticated designs. Herrera also has a fragrance and makeup collection.

3. Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan

Cuban-born singer Gloria Estefan became one of the most popular artists of the 1980s with hits such as “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Here We Are,” and “Get On Your Feet.” Estefan successfully incorporated both Cuban rhythms and pop which became her trademark sound throughout her career as a solo artist and with The Miami Sound Machine. She has sold over 100 million albums and is considered the most successful Latin crossover artist in history. Last June, Estefan was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame making her the first Latina ever to be inducted.

4. Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

Multi-talented singer, dancer, and Puerto Rican actress Chita Rivera became well known for starring in original Broadway productions and became synonymous for originating the role of ‘Anita,” in the theater production of West Side Story. Rivera is also known for starring in other live musicals including Guys and Dolls in 1950, Bye Bye Birdie in 1960, and Chicago in 1975. She has received numerous awards over the years including two Tony Awards and was the first-ever Latina to be honored by the Kennedy Center Honors. Rivera also made appearances on many iconic TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Carol Burnett Show. With her long career and iconic performances, Rivera will forever be known for paving the way for other Latinas in entertainment who came after her. Rivera was 91 when she recently passed this January. We honor and remember her for her extraordinary talents.

5. Gladys Zender

Gladys Zender

Of Peruvian descent, Gladys Zender became the first Latina to ever be crowned Miss Universe in 1957 paving the way for other Latinas thereafter. At just 17 years old, Zender won Miss Peru and went on to win the prestigious Miss Universe competition in California becoming internationally known afterward. Retiring in the mid-1960s from public life, Zender went on to marry and have children but will forever be known for her milestone achievement. 





  • Jenny Castro

    Jenny Castro is a part of the editorial team for Latinitas Magazine. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Justice from Central Washington University, and also holds a certificate in women’s entrepreneurial studies from the University of Washington. Jenny has a passion for storytelling, and loves highlighting diverse topics such as historical events, pop-culture, music, film, and leaders in the Latino community. She strives to provoke thoughtful and factual genuine storytelling in her pieces and takes pride in researching truth and authenticity. In her free time, she spends time reading her favorite books, and watching classic Hollywood films. In 2020, Jenny also appeared on the Turner Classic Movies Network where she provided commentary on classic film. She is excited to be a part of the Latinitas team.

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