Things That Matter

These Latinas Are Changing The World With Their Groundbreaking Inventions In Science, Technology, And Engineering

Women are under-represented in the tech sector. Not only that, but they’re underpaid, often passed for promotions and faced with everyday sexism. It’s no wonder women are more likely to leave the industry within a year compared to their male counterparts. But there’s hope. Last week, the MIT Technology Review published a list of the leading Latin American innovators of 2019, and we wanted to highlight the women, who have pushed through in a male-dominated industry and are creating solutions for issues like climate change, terminal illnesses, and other threats. 

In a field that requires women to work alongside men who don’t believe women have the intelligence and inclination to work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), these Latina innovators are proving otherwise.

Renee Wittemyer, director of program strategy and investment at Pivotal Ventures —Melinda Gates’ investment and incubation company— says that women, and particularly women of color, “are being systemically left behind.” And, she adds, “these stats are moving at a glacial pace.” According to Wittemeyer, African American women and Hispanic women represent 3% and 1% of tech workers respectively.

There is an extensive underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. 

Women make up only 24 percent of the STEM workforce. To make matters worse, only 3 percent of Latina women are working in STEM fields. So these Latina innovators are worth celebrating. 

These scientists, biologists and engineers are making a social impact by solving many of the world’s most complex questions and threatening issues—from climate change to terminal illnesses to social problems.

Here are five Latina innovators shaking up the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) sphere and using technology to create a greater impact for the world:

Lucía Gallardo

technologyreview.es

Lucía Gallardo is the brain behind “Emerge,” a start-up that aims to solve social problems with emerging technologies, such as blockchain, Internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). “Through her company, Gallardo tries to bring these tools to people who work on social impact projects, especially in impoverished countries such as her native Honduras. One of Emerge’s main sources of support is women and marginalized communities, who are driven by both technology and advice,” MIT Technology Review writes.

María Alexandra Tamayo

technologyreview.es

This Colombian innovator, is purifying water in a country that has the second-most water resources but where only 8% of households have access to drinking water. This way, the biomedical engineer hopes to avoid diseases and death caused by water.

“This is how NanoPro was born, a device ‘capable of eliminating fungi, viruses and bacteria from water without affecting its taste, smell and color,’ the engineer explains. “The filter can be applied in both rural and urban populations, since it is incorporated both in faucets and in thermoses for those areas whose supply network does not reach homes.” With her invention, Tamayo hopes to democratize the access to drinkable water.

Marcela Torres

technologyreview.es

Marcela Torres wants to help refugees and immigrants in Mexico through “Holacode,” a software she developed to provide immigrants with access to employment and better integrate themselves into society. “Marcela Torres realized that in Mexico there were not enough people with the qualifications needed for the software developer positions that were open in the country, so she decided to use technology to solve the problem,” the MIT magazine wrote. “This is how ‘Holacode’ was born, a start-up that offers software development courses for the migrant community in Mexico.” Holacode offers coding and software courses for migrants in Mexico. The courses lasts five months, and with this start-up, Torres hopes that technology education can become more democratic and accessible. “The start-up allows these jobs to be filled by especially vulnerable people such as migrants.”

María Isabel Amorín

technologyreview.es

Amorín, 28-year-old Guatemalan chemist discovered an innovative way to clean sewage. On top of emissions and the excessive rate at which we are consuming resources, another great impact that global industrial activities have on the planet, is water pollution. In short, textile industries use a lot of chemical dyes for the production of clothing, which not only results in massive water waste but these chemicals can pollute rivers and other bodies of water. 

The Guatemalan chemist, Maria Isabel Amorin, “synthesized a polymer from shrimp shells that’s capable of retaining the dyes used in the textile industry.” According to the MIT Technology Review, “The filter works by recirculating and retaining the dye used to dye clothes. This project is particularly focused on artisanal textile production, since the technologies available to treat the waters are very expensive. Now, the young chemist is in the process of patenting her ecological method of filtration and hopes to scale production.”

Mariel Pérez Carrillo

technologyreview.es

This Mexican biochemical engineer and entrepreneur, helps farmers increase their crop production through Innus Technologies. Carillo recalled, “I went to the countryside to learn from the farmers and I realized that they don’t know how their crop is. They also don’t know what state their soil is in.” She invented Enviro, a device that identifies soil conditions and climate in real time and, from them, offers recommendations to improve crop yields.

Thanks to its sensors, Enviro can measure temperature, humidity, conductivity, pH and salinity. The device can help farmers reduce crop losses. Pérez affirms that Enviro also reduces the need of agricultural supplies, “which reduces the contamination of soil and aquifers caused by to excessive use of agricultural chemicals.” 

Latinas talk “Imposter Syndrome”

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Latinas talk “Imposter Syndrome”

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Imposter syndrome. It may happen when you finally got accepted to college and have found yourself overwhelmed by the student body, or when you accepted that dream job, or even while doing your job. It can happen in relationships, in friendships. Basically anywhere and amongst us Latinas too. Even despite our hard work and much-earned credentials.

We wanted to talk about Imposter’s Syndrome and how to deal with it, so we reached out to our FIERCE audience on Instagram for their thoughts.

Latinas got real with their responses about feeling as if they were undeserving.

Check them out below!

Remind yourself that you’ve worked hard and are deserving.

“Thank you for posting this! I actually just got hired on as a school counselor and I’m feeling this intensely right now. I have to keep reminding myself that I worked so hard for this and that I AM WORTH IT!” – adelitafamania

Understand that anything can trigger it.

“It happens to me every single day on so many levels. It’s been holding me back my whole life and I keep pushing against it, some days it gets the better of me but I won’t give up on myself even when I really feel I’m not capable. I get so stressed all the time thinking someone is going to discover that I’m not smart, or fun, or whatever it is at that moment that I shut down. It’s so good to openly discuss it with friends or even professional help.” – pinatapink

And it can lead to social anxiety.

“This is so hard, I feel like this nearly every day. Lately, it’s been getting in the way of my entire purpose and whether or not I want to work hard at all. I tend to think, “Like for what? I don’t deserve to have the things I want because I didn’t work hard enough.” Yet, I did. Probably more than anyone else in my programs, jobs, teams, even my friend group. This is so tough and often it leads to my social anxiety which affects a whole multitude of behavioral patterns like procrastination and chronic lateness.” –curlsofroses

But you can battle it by not shrugging off your achievements.

“Happens to me all the time. And when people give me praise I tend to say “oh it’s not a big deal.” But I’m trying to remember that I’m enough and hell yeah I’m a big deal.” – erika_kiks18

Because it can happen to brain surgeons and Fortune 500 CEOs too.

“Our country and our community has been through a lot since the middle of March. Now more than ever is the time to nourish our goals and inspirations. In my podcast, I bring together some of the highest achieving Latinos that our country has to offer: Dr. Quinoñes-Hinojosa: who went from migrant farm worker to a world-renowned brain surgeon
Hector Ruiz: one of the very few Latinos to be a Fortune 500 CEO of an American Company Louis Barajas: the #1 financial Latino expert in the USA. (He is most likely your favorite Reggaeton artist’s to-go financial guy.)
Cesar Garcia: an actor who has seen. dozens of times in music videos, shows, and movies. He’s known for his roles in Fast and Furious and Breaking Bad. Chef Aarón Sánchez: The most well-known Latin Chef in the country. Find an episode that catches your attention or share an episode to a friend of loved one that would like to hear from other Latinos on how they achieved their dreams and goals.” – trailblazinglatinospodcast

And you can cure it by not reminding yourself to not give weight to other people’s thoughts.

“I cured mine by not giving a fck! The enemy is a LIEEEE.” –stephaniesaraii

And last but not least, know that it can be hard to defeat but you ARE worthy.

“This was me on the first day after I transferred to University. The feeling still follows me sometimes. It hard to defeat.” – dianalajandre

Latina Beauty Brands Crushing The Makeup Game

Fierce

Latina Beauty Brands Crushing The Makeup Game

besamecosmetics / Instagram

It’s likely that behind every bold lip you’ve ever rocked, there’s a strong Latina beauty who taught you how to do it. Hence, whether it’s been how to pick the right shade or moisturize with Vicks, there’s no doubt by now you’ve got a handle on rocking a mean pout.

With so much advice passed on from the abuelas and tías in our lives, it’s no wonder more and more Latinas and Latinos are leading the charge in the beauty industry. Check out our fave Latina beauty brands below!

1. Bésame Cosmetics 

This is totally your abuelita’s make up brand. (And why not? She taught you all you know about a good red lip anyways.) Bésame’s founder, Gabriela Hernandez, immigrated from Venezuela and became fascinated with the sophistication of beauty while playing with her abuela’s makeup brushes. Each of Hernandez’s long lasting beauty products act as shoutouts to the romance of 1930’s Hollywood. Her Black Cake Mascara will give you major romance vibes.

2. BeautyBlender

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Blend like a boss!

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If Rea Ann Silva’s beauty must-have hasn’t already swept across the foundation on your face, stop what you’re doing and get on board. Seriously, we’ll wait because it’s awesome.

Got it? Cool! Because the Mexican and Portuguese entrepreneur completely uprooted the makeup game back in 2007. The innovative makeup sponge doesn’t hold onto product and evenly distributes formulas into skin with zero lines. Yes and yes.

3. Nuance by Salma Hayek

Don’t believe that just because she’s on the red carpet that your girl Salma hasn’t a clue about drugstore makeup. The Mexican-born actress strongly believes in bringing products with healthy ingredients to all women. Which means yes you can find the line in the isles of CVS. Her Flawless Finish Liquid Foundation is also a complete steal at $14 a pop.

4. Reina Rebelde

Regina Merson’s colorful range of lipsticks, shadows, and blush palettes act as an ode to the zesftful culture of her Mexican heritage. With shades like ROSA SALVAJE and MORETÓN, Merson’s line is equal parts queen and rebel.

5. Gaby Espino

Venezuelan telenovela star Gaby Espino’s beauty line is proof that she has more talent to bring to the table. Her lipstick and nail polish line stem from her love of beauty products and fans are OBSESSED. The extreme-pigment and long-lasting cream-texture of her Buh Bye Baby lipstick is packed with antioxidants and also mint for calm, smooth lips.

6. Breakups to Makeup

You know that saying “some things are better left unsaid”? Puerto Rican and Cuban makeup artist Angelique Velez’s makeup bag line is for anyone who still has some words to say. Velez’s line of makeup bags and clutches are tagged with quotes that evoke major “same” vibes.

Fun Fact: Velez founded Breakups to Makeups after makeup helped her through a bad break up. #makeupsaveslives

7. Melt Cosmetics

This massive cosmetics brand racked up an equally massive fan base in just a matter of 3 years. Lora Arellano is the other founding half of the popping cosmetics line and has been on our radar as a girl boss for a while. Since the launch of her beauty brand, the first-generation Mexican-American has worked with Rihanna and Serena Williams as their go-to makeup artist.

8. Tata Harper

Tata Harper’s 100% nontoxic skincare line has swept up a massive celebrity clientele that includes Gwenyth Paltrow and also Lake Bell. According to Forbes, Harper is Columbian-born with a background in industrial engineering. Gotta love a woman in STEM!

Pro Tip: Go for the super popular Honey Blossom Mask ($65) for girls night in.