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Despite adversities and systemic oppression, Latinas have pushed through and still helped the world with their inventions. It’s widely known that women have it tough in STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) and STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts, and math). While both those disciplines are already highly competitive, women also have to deal with the overwhelming majority of the field being occupied by men. Latinas are even further marginalized in the field with only 2% of Latinas holding STEM jobs, and yet we still have some pretty amazing inventions made by Latinas.

But that’s not ever stopped Latinas from being magic in either STEM or STEAM.


One of the more well known useful inventions created by a Latina is the beauty blender, but let’s talk about other Latina-made inventions that aren’t as well known:

Invention: Fast Dengue Fever Test

image of fast dengue fever test and Maria Ang\u00e9lica de Camargo

Inventor: Maria Angélica de Camargo

A low-cost and quick test for detecting Dengue Fever, which is a common disease in tropical countries. When Maria Angélica de Camargo, a Brazilian, saw the increasing need to differentiate Dengue from Zika, she created a much more specific and economical test. The Fast Dengue Fever Test is a big win in Latin American countries where health isn’t as affordable or accessible.

Invention: LIZA

image of Ishtar Rizzo holding a Liza test for sexually transmitted diseases and a larger picture of the test

Inventor: Ishtar Rizzo

Getting tested for STDs can be pricey and invasive. That’s where LIZA comes in. Co-created by Mexican engineer Ishtar Rizzo, LIZA detects STDs through a simple urine test, not only making it much easier to use but also more affordable than standard STD tests. We celebrate Ishtar for allowing Latinas to safely embrace their sexuality and take control of their health

Invention: Long-life nickel-hydrogen batteries

Image of Olga D. Gonz\u00e1lez-Sanabria and nickel-hydrogen batteries

Inventor: Olga D. González-Sanabria

Probably your first thought after reading was “the what now?” Well, it’s a type of battery used for satellites that go to space. It was developed with the help of Olga González- Sanabria, and it’s now used for research done throughout space. Another Latina point for STEM!

Invention: Breast Pump System Using a Wall Vacuum Source

image of a breast pump and Elena T. Medo

Inventor: Elena T. Medo

You know the breast pump with the Wall Vacuum, right? But did you know it came from yet another brilliant Latina? And it’s not Elena Medo’sonly patent related to breastfeeding, but it’s definitely one of the most well-known. Elena’s work is helping neonatal health constantly improve and helping our mamas keep their babies healthy.

Invention:  Section 3 of New York’s High Line

image of the third section of the high line in new york city and isabel castilla

Inventor: Isabel Castilla

Oddly specific. But yeah, the third section of the outstanding high line turned public park was designed and led by Isabel Castilla. Her work has allowed people to have a place to think, exercise, and just enjoy nature in the middle of the concrete jungle.

Sure, STEM and STEAM are competitive fields. But who’s more competitive than a Latina? What other inventions made by Latinas come to mind? Let’s get the word out!

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Johnny Depp's Latina Lawyer Camille Vasquez is Breaking the Internet One Objection at a Time

“Objection” took on a new meaning after the video of Camille Vasquez using the word repeatedly during the Amber Heard defamation trial took the internet by storm. Heard’s attorney, on the other hand, could be seen struggling with how to proceed with questioning after Vazquez’s interjections were sustained by the judge.

The confidence with which Vasquez proceeded in her own cross-examination of Heard left everyone convinced that this woman is a powerhouse who could probably audition for the lead role in “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Vasquez is fascinating to watch which left us (and the rest of the world wide web) with one question: who is Camille Vasquez, anyway?

@mculokii

the redirect was brutal 🔥🔥 amber heard could barely say anything during the redirect 😂 #justiceforjohnnydepp #johnnydepp #camillevasquez

@maleedus

Part 2 of Amber Heard getting cross examined by Queen Camille. #fyp #amberheardisguilty #johnnydepptiktok #camillevasquez #deppvsheardtrial #johnnydepp

The 37-year-old Colombian attorney is currently a member of the legal team representing Johnny Depp in his $50 million defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard. The highly-televised (and often inadvertently entertaining) trial is now in its final week.

Sexist rumors have been making the rounds that Vasquez may be dating Depp, which have repeatedly been debunked. The recent attention has instead shifted focus from the impressive lawyering Vasquez is doing to cheap headlines that no one is producing of Heard and her lawyer.

Vasquez is alumna of Southwestern Law School ‘10 and University of Southern California ‘06, where she graduated magna cum laude. Vasquez was also named “One to Watch” by The Best Lawyers in America for 2021-2022.

We can only hope to continue to see Vasquez shine as the proceedings continue - we know the internet is certainly wanting more and she’s showing how Latinas get it done.

Woman in an abortion rights protest

On May 9th, a Salvadoran woman identified only as Esme was sentenced to 30 years in prison after she suffered a miscarriage. Esme had been under pre-trial detention for almost two years when she was arrested and reported for seeking help at a public hospital. Esme was also separated from her seven-year-old daughter when she was arrested.

Despite several protests and rallies often organized by the many feminist movements in El Salvador, the country continues to have some of the most draconian abortion laws in the world with the procedure being completely illegal no matter the circumstances. Under Salvadorian law, abortion isn't legal even in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's health is at risk.

Esme's case is not an isolated incident: women have been going to prison for suffering miscarriages for decades in the country. Between 2000 and 2004, there were at least 49 women serving sentences for "crimes" related to abortion. Abortion is referred to as aggravated homicide when these women are tried. The penalties range from 20 to 50 years, healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, etc. can also be charged for being complicit and sentenced to up to 12 years. For these reasons, many healthcare professionals turn to denounce these women as soon as they show up at a hospital with signs of a miscarriage.

Lower-income women find themselves the most vulnerable to these laws, as it’s often extremely difficult to access medical care. In 2016, another woman named Evelyn was also sentenced to 30 years in prison after suffering a miscarriage while sitting down on her toilet, despite not even knowing she was pregnant. After years of suffering, she was only released in 2020 when various international human rights organizations exerted pressure on the current government to free her.

Despite these challenges, opposition to anti-abortion laws continue to contest them. Feminist collectives in El Salvador presented a proposal that would modify the penal code to allow abortions when the mother's health is at risk, in cases of rape or cases of fetal malformation in 2016 - unfortunately, the proposal was archived last year by the legislative assembly. Despite constant pressure for change from many, including international human rights organizations, these human rights violations continue to be ignored.

Morena Herrera, president of The Citizens' Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, has called for miscarriages to be treated as a public health issue rather than a criminal one. Herrera has described Esme's sentence as a heavy blow in advancing women's rights in the country. Herrera also stated, "We will continue to fight so that all women unjustly criminalized by these circumstances regain their freedom and have the opportunity to remake and rebuild their lives."

On the other hand, international human rights lawyer and executive director of the Women's Equality Center Paula Guillen warns that we may be seeing cases like these happen in the U.S. if Roe vs. Wade is overturned. Guillen said, "Everyone in the U.S. should have their eyes on El Salvador to understand exactly what a future without Roe entails."

Guillen also points out that when abortion is criminalized, women are forced to prove that any obstetric emergency they may experience is, in fact, an emergency. Women who can't or don't have the resources to seek proper medical care will face imprisonment instead.

It is a sad reality that women continue to be prosecuted criminally for being refused medical treatments like abortion, but it is even sadder that many of these women simply miscarried yet are being punished for it. A more equitable future involves quality abortion access for everyone, without fear of being jailed for seeking healthcare and body autonomy.

two women posing

I grew up being told, “you can’t do that because you’re a girl” or “your brother can because he’s a boy” and I hated hearing that. It’s been something that has tormented me my entire life.

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