Time Magazine’s Women of the Year list is out for 2023 and two Latinas were among the 10 “extraordinary leaders who are working toward a more equal world,” according to TIME magazine. So, who are they?
First up is Anielle Franco.
She is Brazil’s Racial Equality Minister under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government and said that her main goal in politics is to fight inequality in areas such as health, education, public security, and hunger, which disproportionately impact the country’s Black population. She also shared in her profile that “Black people represent 70% of the 33 million who go hungry in Brazil” and that there is a genocide happening right now because “we’re a country that kills a young Black person every 23 minutes.”
Her connection to politics is also a personal matter, as she came into this field after her sister, Marielli Franco, was killed in 2018. This was a retaliation murder due to her activism and political work in defense of human rights in Brazil. “I had never thought about being a politician before my sister’s death,” she says.
Ultimately, Franco said that she wants “a more human, less divided country, without racism” and that “Black people can be protagonists in out society instead of being on the front page of newspapers as victims of genocide.”
And then there’s Verónica Cruz Sánchez.
Sánchez has been an activist since she was a teen and has been the leader of the feminist network Las Libres since 2000. Her work is focused on providing access and education to women who live in deeply conservative areas that restrict access to abortion in almost all cases.
She and her colleagues started by distributing misoprostol aka the abortion pill in Guanajuato, Mexico. Their hopes were to destigmatize a procedure that is seen as shameful to many in a deeply conservative country. And with abortion decriminalized in Mexico, she continues her work to bring abortion care to indigenous communities within the country.
And with the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, she has now expanded her operation north of the border to promote access and education there. According to Sánchez, women in the U.S. “have very little knowledge about the pills” and that “the women we see are terrified.”
Las Libres now has nearly 300 volunteers in the US and together they have provided assistance to around 10,000 women. And it is essential assistance as safe and legal abortion care is being destroyed by full bans or 6-week bans aka even before most women figure out they’re pregnant.
Last year’s list included Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, the first transgender actress to win a Golden Globe, with her saying, “Thank you [TIME magazine] once again for the work we’ve done together [and] the powerful woman that you constantly put in front of me.”