In The Community
Remember when sci-fi shows and movies from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s showed us technology we never thought possible? This new food oven is basically a “Jetsons” food cooker, well, close to it anyway. National Technology Day (January 6th) recognizes all the ways technology has changed the world so far, from the invention of the wheel to artificial intelligence. It also looks to the future, highlighting new technological advances that will eventually change our lives.
And what’s cooler than the advent of new technology? We’d argue it’s the recent significant growth in the number of Latinas working in the technology industry.
They’re still underrepresented in comparison to their male colleagues but progress is progress. Latinas in technology face several hurdles and barriers, including discrimination and prejudices based on gender, race, and ethnicity.
Despite these obstacles, many Latinas have achieved success and made substantial contributions. Check out these 5 inspiring Latina tech entrepreneurs who are making the world a better place
Ariel Lopez is an Afro-Latina entrepreneur, career coach, and speaker in tech. She is the founder and CEO of Knac, formerly 2020Shift, a talent management platform that promises to transform the job application process for professionals and businesses by reducing bias and improving the candidate experience while also making the hiring process much more efficient.
Passionate about the future of work, diversity, and inclusion, Ariel aims to create impactful solutions through technology and by coaching marketing, advertising, and tech professionals on ways to grow their businesses and careers.
Marcela Torres, a researcher in social sciences, founded Hola Code in 2017 after identifying an urgent need for qualified personnel in the software development sector within her home country of Mexico, and tying that in with a growing migration crisis. Wanting to enact social change, she created a company that transforms forced migrants (returnees, deportees, and refugees) into skilled software developers, tapping into Mexico’s growing tech sector as well as the global demand for bilingual and bicultural developers, and helping them gain access to more, better jobs and opportunities.
Currently, Hola Code receives more than 400 applications each month from Mexicans and Central Americans seeking asylum. While they celebrate the accomplishments of their alumni, who quickly ascend into well-paid tech jobs across Mexico, the coding bootcamp is never short of work.
Dr. Maria Artunduaga
The Business Journals
Dr. Maria Artunduaga, a Colombian-born physician-scientist turned entrepreneur, graduated first in her class from Colombia's prestigious Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, which is ranked sixth among Latin American medical institutions. She moved to the United States for her postdoctoral studies, first at Harvard's Department of Genetics and subsequently at the universities of Washington and California in Berkeley-San Francisco, where she earned master's degrees in Public Health and Translational Medicine.
Inspired by her abuela Sylvia after years of witnessing her struggle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Maria went on to found Samay, formerly known as Respira Labs, a startup focused on enhancing the quality of life for people living with COPD through connected health and machine learning.
Laura I. Gomez
Laura I. Gomez is a Latina entrepreneur and technology executive. She is the co-founder and CEO of Atipica, a company that provides technology solutions for businesses to help improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She received her degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has worked in diverse leadership roles in the tech industry, including Google, YouTube, Jawbone, and Twitter, where she led the company’s product expansion into 50 languages and dozens of countries.
Laura has been recognized for her work as an entrepreneur and tech executive, having been named to Forbes' list of "Latin America's Most Powerful Women" in 2017. In addition to her work at Atipica, Gomez is also a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) board of directors. She is currently working on Proyecto Solace, described as “a community focused on building safe spaces for Latinx peoples focused on collective healing and mental wellness.”
Dr. Graciela Chichilnisky
Dr. Graciela is an Argentine-American economist and environmental scientist known for her work on climate change and creating innovative technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She is the co-founder and former CEO of Global Thermostat, a company that developed a technology that captures and sequesters carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities. The technology is designed to help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Dr. Chichilnisky has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from the National Science Foundation, the Chaire d'Excellence from the French Government, and the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement. She is also a professor at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on environmental economics and the management of global environmental risks.
In a world abundant with challenges, particularly for the Latino community, these women, burdened with representing millions of voices, but taking on the challenge as best they could, stand out as genuine heroines. They don’t have capes or supernatural powers, but they stand out with their steadfast courage, unwavering dedication, and the remarkable ability to shape the course of history.
Mainstream historians regularly exclude Latina contributions to the development of the United States and its culture. If they won’t tell their stories, the rest of us will because these vibrant and powerful narratives of these extraordinary women deserve to be known and most importantly, learned from.
Helen Rodríguez Trías
Courtesy of the Rodriguez-Trias family
A medical doctor and activist born in New York. Rodriguez Trías carved a legacy through tireless advocacy for the health and reproductive rights of women and marginalized communities.
As the first Latina to preside over the American Public Health Association, her influence transcended the boundaries of conventional medicine.
Rodríguez Trías co-founded pivotal organizations such as the Abortion Rights Committee, the Women's Caucus of the American Public Health Association, and the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse. Her pivotal contributions were evident in the drafting of federal sterilization guidelines, where she played a crucial role in ensuring informed consent was presented in a language accessible to women, coupled with the introduction of a waiting period between consent and the procedure.
One of the most well-known workers’ rights advocates, Huerta, a union leader and civil rights advocate born in New Mexico, stands out with her unwavering commitment to labor justice and her inspiring leadership in the struggle for equality for farm workers.
As a co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW), she served as a beacon of hope for farm workers and members of marginalized communities. Huerta boldly confronted labor injustice in the fields, spearheading strikes and movements aimed at achieving fair working conditions and farmer rights.
Her motto "Sí, se puede" resounded with those who yearned for change, and became an emblem of unity and empowerment. The motto, often attributed to labor rights leader Cesar Chavez or the UFW in general, was coined by Huerta during Chavez’s 1972 25-day fast in Phoenix, Arizona, which was then famously borrowed by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in his campaign slogan, Yes We Can.
In addition to her work with the union, Huerta has fought tirelessly for civil and social rights equality. Her unwavering advocacy led to significant progress, such as equitable practices in the agricultural industry.
© THE ESTATE OF ANA MENDIETA COLLECTION
Born in Havana, Cuba, a conceptual artist was not only known for her exceptional artistic skills but also for her strong dedication to exploring themes of identity, land, and femininity through her work.
After moving to the United States, she became a significant figure in contemporary art, particularly in representing the Latina experience. Her art was unconventional and dealt with fundamental themes, ranging from the relationship between the body and nature to reflecting on her Cuban heritage.Mendieta played a significant role in the conceptual and performance art movement, which was mostly dominated by men. She was one of the few women who gained prominence in this field.
© NASA Johnson
Ochoa is a renowned astronaut and engineer, born in California, who has made notable contributions to the history of space exploration.
She joined NASA in 1988 and quickly made a name for herself, earning the distinction of being the first Latina to reach space in 1993 aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
Dr. Ochoa's contributions to optical systems for information processing were significant due to her degrees in physics and electrical engineering.
She received NASA's most prestigious awards, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award. Her legacy resonates as a powerful testament to the strength and resilience of women in breaking barriers and forging paths in traditionally male-dominated fields.
© Valérie Shaff
Born in New York, Rivera was an activist and advocate for transgender rights and dedicated her life to the fight for equality and visibility for transgender communities.
She co-founded the Gay Liberation Front and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and played a crucial role in the fight for transgender rights.
Rivera was a strong advocate for the recognition and respect of transgender voices, challenging discrimination, and fighting for equal rights in the LGBTQ+ community. She actively participated in the Stonewall Uprising, going on record to tell the story of her role in the protest. Though she didn’t throw the initial Molotov cocktail, she “threw the second one.”
In the six days of protests, Rivera never went home, staying behind and advocating for trans rights, making sure that the “T” in LGBT wasn’t forgotten.
These Latina women, each a superhero in her own right, have left an indelible mark on the world, proving that courage and dedication can transcend barriers and shape a more equitable and just future for us all. Celebrating their stories reminds us that the true power of heroism lies not in capes or supernatural abilities but in the relentless pursuit of justice, equality, and positive change.
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Maria Fernanda Ramirez is a tattoo artist who has created quite a buzz. Her unique embroidery tattoo designs look so realistic that they genuinely seem to be embroidered into the skin. Their life-like quality has her booked out months and even years in advance. See why:
Her designs highlight the beauty of Mexican tradition and culture with bright, eye-catching colors that transport you to the streets of Mexico. In an interview with Mujer Mexico, Maria Fernanda shares how she taught herself how to tattoo while studying psychology and visual plastic arts in college. Her friends started asking her for illustrations for their tattoos, so this inspired the idea of becoming a tattoo artist herself. Practice combined with determination got her to where she is today.
After leaving Mexico, she used traditional Mexican embroidery for her design inspiration and as a way to stay connected with her roots. Nowadays, she’s booked and busy but never forgets her first embroidery tattoo of a bright floral design that reminded her of the pieces she would embroider with her Abuela. She hasn’t had any difficulty in finding people that want her designs permanently inked on their skin. In fact, her appointment book has been closed due to overwhelming demand.
If you want a tattoo that looks like someone took to a needle and thread instead of an ink gun to your skin, you’re going to have to wait for her appointments to open up again. In the meantime, you can follow her on Instagram at @Fertattoo2406 to take a look at more of her unique designs.
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