18 Inspiring Women from Mexico You Need to Know

Carmen Aristegui
Carmen Aristegui | © Eneas De Troya / Flickr

So many well known Mexican women have had an awe-inspiring impact on the country and around the world, with millions of others who remain unknown and make daily sacrifices for human rights, the creation of meaningful art, and the recording of beautiful prose. These are some of the most inspiring Mexican women you should know.

Loved by over 40s

María Izquierdo

With the politics of Frida Kahlo and the allure of Remedios Varo, María Izquierdo is often forgotten as one of Mexico’s most important female painters. She was the first Mexican woman to have a solo exhibition in the United States when her art was displayed at the Art Center in New York during a time in which she had to fight to be recognized at the same level as her male counterparts.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

One of the first and foremost feminists of colonial Mexico, Sor Juana was so dedicated to continuing her lifelong love of learning that she joined a nunnery and refused to marry. She argued with bishops, offended polite society, and generally made a ruckus with her writings on philosophy, religion, and education. She is also one of Mexico’s most beloved poets.

Sor Juana statue

Rosario Castellanos

Castellanos is considered one of Mexico’s most important poets of the 20th century. Deeply concerned with the lives of women and their struggles within male-dominated culture, much of her work focuses on her own experience as a woman in Mexico. She was a professor, activist, poet, and even an ambassador to Israel; she left behind a body of work important to the poetry world in Mexico.

María del Pilar Roldán Tapia

Roldán came from a family of excellent athletes and became passionate about fencing at a very young age. She was the first Mexican woman to win an Olympic medal (a silver in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City) and was also part of the first father-daughter team (her father was the famous tennis player Ángel Roldán) in the Pan-American games in 1955.

Frida Kahlo

One of Mexico’s most famous painters and most famous female artists by far, Frida Kahlo is known for her introspective and sometimes gruesome work that touched on the subjects of infertility, disability, mestizaje (having a combination of European and American Indian heritage), and her deep Mexican roots. She is equally known for her eccentric and wild persona that included leftist politics, sexual ambiguity, and the rejection of cultural and social norms.

Self Portrait, Frida Kahlo

Rosario Ibarra de Piedra

A senator, former presidential candidate, and a great female voice in Mexican politics, Ibarra de Piedra formed and heads the Comité Eureka, an organization that fights to free political prisoners and find those that have “disappeared” for political reasons. She was also involved in the indigenous Zapatista movement of the 1990s and continues, in her 90+ years, to be a voice for the underrepresented and mistreated in Mexico.

Paola Longoria

Longoria is considered the best female racquetball player in the world and has won eight national championships, three world titles, three gold medals at the Pan-American games, and the National Sports Award in Mexico in 2010. She was the first player in the history of the sports to simultaneously hold the world title for both singles and doubles.

Tessy María López Goerne

One of the country’s most renowned scientists, López Goerne is the director of nanotechnology and nanomedicine laboratories at Mexico’s Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and is leading research on a possible gel that will cure diabetic feet. Despite having suffered through cancer and a stroke, she has been given dozens of awards for her scientific work and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Nanotechnology lab

Norma Romero Vázquez

Vázquez leads an organization working out of Veracruz called Las Patronas that feeds 150 Central American migrants a day who are passing through Mexico on the locally famous cargo train known as La Bestia (“The Beast”). The difficult and dangerous work of Vázquez’s organization saves lives every day and in 2013, she was awarded Mexico’s National Human Rights Award.

Leona Vicario

Vicario was one of Mexico’s first female journalists and was an important part of the Independence Movement in early 1800s. She was a member of the secret society Los Guadalupes and used much of her family’s money to by arms and supplies for the Independence fighters. She also wrote messages in code in El Ilustrador Americano, a newspaper that supported the movement.

Silvia Torres-Peimbert

Torres-Peimbert is the first Mexican woman to receive her doctorate in astronomy. She studies the creation of stars and the mass thrown out by mid-size stars and has been awarded for her work in determining the chemical composition of nebulae. She is the former editor of the very important Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics and was named president of the International Astronomical Union between 2015 and 2018, becoming the second woman to have held that position.

Silvia Torres-Peimbert

Elsa Ávila

Ávila was the first Latin American woman to reach the Mount Everest summit in 1999, but she has also been the first to accomplish several other climbs. She specializes in big wall climbs and was the first Latin American woman to climb El Capitán in Yosemite, the Rockies, the Alps, the Andes, the Himalayas, Patagonia and Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle.

Lola Álvarez Bravo

Álvarez Bravo was one of the most important female photographers in Mexico. Her first big break happened when she started taking photos for El Maestro Rural, a magazine published by Mexico’s Secretary of Education, but she had already been taking photos for years alongside her photographer husband, Manuel Álvarez Bravo.Later in life, she was the photography director at Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and was the first person to display the work of her friend Frida Kahlo, as well as other famous Mexican female painters, at her art gallery in Mexico City.

Carmen Aristegui

One of Mexico’s most famous and controversial leftist journalists in Mexico, Aristegui has often been censored and politically opressed for her views. She has won dozens of awards for her work, including the National Award for Journalism several times. She is part of the Political and Social Sciences department at Mexico’s National University, UNAM, and her work often goes against social and political norms.

Carmen Aristegui

María Félix

The object of songs, admiration, and adoration, María Félix was one of Mexican cinema’s most important actresses during its Golden Age. Some of her most famous films include Doña Bárbara (1943), Doña Diabla (1949), Enamorada (1946), and Río Escondido (1947). Félix had a big personality and most of her films became famous because of her presence in them. She was one of the biggest stars of the era, which was quite the feat considering that cinema was more of a boys’ club during that time.

Elena Poniatowska

Elena Poniatowska has written extensively about the lives of ordinary and extraordinary Mexicans and is one of the country’s most well known story tellers. She has published dozens of books and hundreds of interviews with famous and not-so-famous subjects, including her most renowned work, Here’s to You, Jesusa!, based on more than a year’s worth of interviews with a poor laundry woman living in rural Mexico.

Elena Poniatowska

Katy Jurado

The beautiful and seductive María Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado García was Mexico’s most famous “femme fatal” during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. In 1952, she became the first Latin American actress to win a Golden Globe for her performance in High Noon and two years later, the first to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress in the movie Broken Lance (1954).

Lydia Cacho

Cacho is a writer, activist, and feminist dedicated to human rights in Mexico. She founded the Centro Integral de Atención a las Mujeres, a center in Cancún for abused women and children, and played a vital role in the country’s first conviction for child pornography and sex trafficking. She has been threatened, kidnapped, and persecuted for her work but continues to fight for human rights in Mexico.

Lydia Cacho
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Keen to explore the world?

Our passionately curated premium small-group trips are an invitation to connect with like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.