5 Inventions You Probably Didn't Know Were Made by Latinas

female scientist looking at a microscope
Amidst the challenges and entrenched inequalities they face, Latinas have showcased extraordinary resilience and innovation that continues to impact the world through their remarkable inventions.

The realm of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and its broader variant, STEAM (which includes the arts), has often been a battlefield where women strive to make their mark.

In these fiercely competitive domains, the gender imbalance casts an imposing shadow, with men predominantly occupying the landscape. In this uphill struggle, Latinas confront an even steeper climb as they make up mere 3% of the STEM workforce. Despite this stark absence from stem careers, they have still managed to illuminate the path with their ingenuity, crafting inventions that deserve our attention.

Adversity has never managed to suppress the enchanting genius that Latinas bring to the worlds of STEM and STEAM.

While many are familiar with the ingenious beauty blender, a creation attributed to a Latina innovator, let us delve into the realm of lesser-known inventions crafted by Latinas:

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

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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