The National Women’s History Project (NWHP) brings the contributions of Latinas to the forefront of public discourse.
By Alice Gomez and Lucia Matthews | DiálogoPR, San Diego, CA
Over the years Latina entrepreneurs have made a strong impact on the U.S. business scene. The Hispanic population is the largest and fastest growing minority group. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Hispanic population was 46.9 million in 2008; a 3.2 percent increase from 2007, meaning almost one in six American is of Hispanic descent. The large Hispanic influence has resulted in an economy robust with innovative Latina entrepreneurs. This month is Women’s History Month and various individuals, organizations and institutions are putting forth efforts towards recognizing the importance of female societal contributions.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Women’s History Project (NWHP), which serves as a catalyst for promoting women as leaders and influential societal forces. The focus for this year’s theme is ‘Writing Women Back into History’. Mainstream historical accounts have largely undermined female contributions in society. The accomplishments of minorities tend to also receive a diminished role in typical historical reports. Therefore, Latinas face a double discrimination.
To honor the theme the NWHP has developed a nation-wide program highlighting outstanding women and their achievements. The organization places an emphasis on featuring positive role models and the importance of women from all backgrounds.
According to the NWHP, when the effort began in the eighties less than 3% of the content of teacher training textbooks mentioned the contributions of women and when included, women were usually written in as mere footnotes. Women were deprived of female role models. Today the web contains millions of citations professing the accomplishments of women and Latinas specifically.
Accrediting women for the work they have done opens doors for other women to follow their lead. Lisa Garcia-Ruiz, founder of The Grant Hunter, a consulting service that helps its clients seek funding sources, was motivated by the accomplishments of others.
“I have been inspired by other strong women entrepreneurs who have been able to create a business that allows them to make a difference, make money and have time for their families as well” Ruiz said.
For Latinas culture is an important influence in business endeavors and thus should be celebrated as playing a part in their success. Lilian de la Torre-Jiménez, Publisher of Bodas USA La Revista, the first Spanish-language bridal magazine in the U.S., notes the significance her Hispanic heritage has on her business.
“Being Hispanic is the foundation and the heart of my business” Torre-Jiménez said. “Our motto says it all: Tu Boda, Tu Cultura, Tu Idioma (Your Wedding, Your Culture, Your Language).” With that same approach of catering to Latinas with a culturally appropriate multimedia platform, the publisher is launching her third magazine, Mujer Empresaria, the first Spanish-language digital magazine for the U.S. Latina Entrepreneur in mid-2010.
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