The illustrated children’s book 100 Grandes Mujeres Latinoamericanas [100 Great Latin American Women] showcases a selection of inspirational and iconic women drawn from political leaders, independence revolutionaries, sportswomen, activists, artists, writers, scientists, entrepreneurs and pioneers of feminism.
The greatest challenge of the project was in selecting just one hundred from the many extraordinary women who have made significant contributions to Latin American histories and societies. The book takes diversity as the main criteria for selection, and the women featured in the book represent a wide range of spheres of influence, professions, races and ethnicities, sexualities, political beliefs, levels of physical abilities, and ages.
100 Grandes Mujeres Latinoamericanas is the result of a collaboration between academia and the creative industries, and specifically of the working partnership between Lauren Rea and Euhen Matarozzo. They worked with a team of creative industries professionals to create this book, published to commemorate the centenary of Billiken magazine as a first step towards redressing the historical imbalance of gender representation within the magazine.
Alongside iconic figures such as Eva Perón and Frida Kahlo, well known within and beyond Latin America, the book’s focus on the region makes space for women whose achievements have perhaps not been as widely recognised. Historical women featured include Ecuador’s Hermelinda Urvina, the first Latin American woman to hold a professional pilot’s license; Argentine sculptor Lola Mora; and El Salvador’s Prudencia Ayala, who put herself forward for the Presidency at a time when women did not even have the vote.
The book also showcases the impact that Latin American women are having today by highlighting women such as Carolina Contreras from the Dominican Republic, a social entrepreneur active in the natural hair movement who is working to build girls’ esteem by challenging Eurocentric beauty standards; Andrea Gamarnik, an Argentine virologist currently turning her expertise combating dengue to developing COVID-19 tests; and María del Carmen Fleytas who is leading jaguar conservation in Paraguay.
Coordinators: Lauren Rea and Euhen Matarozzo
Authors: Lauren Rea, Regina Solis, Ariela Kreimer
Illustrators: Aymará Mont, Sarah Jones, Javier Basile,
Emily Cuthbert, Ella Strickland de Souza
Design: Lisa Brande; Editing: Lea Loupias
In October 2020, the project was awarded follow-on funding under the UKRI GCRF Collective Fund. For the Great Latin American Women Project, the partnership is developing audio-visual and digital educational resources based on 100 Grandes Mujeres Latinoamericanas. The project aims to foster greater gender equality in Latin America by encouraging the integration of women’s histories into educational curricula and increasing the visibility of contemporary leading women’s achievements.