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Elena Poniatowska | © nawta/Vimeo
Elena Poniatowska | © nawta/Vimeo
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These Mexican Women Should Be on Your Radar for International Women’s Day

Picture of Lauren Cocking
Northern England Writer
Updated: 8 March 2017
Over recent months, we’ve been shining a spotlight on notable Mexican women from various professional fields. This month, in honour of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’ve rounded up the best of the best and beyond. From entrepreneurs to artists, actresses to activists, musicians to writers and even a stand-up comedian, these are the Mexican women that should be on everyone’s radar for both March 8 and well into the future.

The cousins of kids’ brand Agua de Chile

Agua de Chile is an impressive kids’ clothing brand that focuses on hand-crafted, highly decorative and traditionally Mexican children’s wear. By employing artisan women who have been using elaborate embroidery techniques all their lives, Agua de Chile and the four female founders behind the brand (Fernanda, Andrea, María Antonieta and Lorena) are providing an extra stream of stable and steady income, empowering indigenous women in the process and promoting Mexican handicrafts in a modern age. You can read more about Agua de Chile here.

Fernanda, Andrea, María Antonieta and Lorena © Agua de Chile
Fernanda, Andrea, María Antonieta and Lorena | © Agua de Chile

Elena Poniatowska

One of the most renowned Mexican writers and authors of all time, Elena Poniatowska, as her name perhaps betrays, is not actually Mexican-born despite having lived here practically her entire life. We featured Poniatowska – who is still going strong at the ripe old age of 84 and is probably best known for her social and political texts like Nada, nadie, Las voces del temblor and La noche de Tlatelolco – in our guide to the best female Mexican writers. You can check out that piece here, which also includes the excellent (if polemic) Valeria Luiselli and Ana Clavel.

Elena Poniatowska is still going at the age of 84 | © nawta / Vimeo
Elena Poniatowska is still going strong at the age of 84 | © nawta/Vimeo

Leonora Carrington

Another non-Mexican to make our guide to the best Mexican women to watch out for, but with good reason. British-born Mexican artist Leonora Carrington was quite the rebel in her youth and also one of the most underrated surrealist artists and sculptors of all time. Aside from surrealism, she dabbled in the wildly popular muralism movement (her piece can be seen in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City) and was even the subject of a book by the aforementioned Elena Poniatowska. If you want more information about her fascinating life, you can check out our extended feature on her here.

Leonora Carrington Self Portrait | © Dan Crowther/Flickr
Leonora Carrington self portrait | © Dan Crowther/Flickr

Sofía Niño de Rivera

The stand-up comic that has risen to the top of one of Mexico’s most growing industries, Sofía Niño de Rivera was also honoured with the title of Chilanga of the Year by Mexico City’s Chilango magazine in 2016. Perhaps best known for her recent Netflix comedy special – as well as for some controversial opinions and impressions of Chihuahua natives that caused controversy in her home country and abroad – Sofía Niño de Rivera is still a name to watch out for in coming years.

Norma Andrade

Norma Andrade is one of the biggest names in Mexican women’s rights activism and is best known for the role she has played in seeking justice for victims of femicide, a rampant “phenomenon” of women killed for being women, that claimed the life of her youngest daughter. She has been the subject of numerous attempts on her life for her admirable work, but has refused to let that stop her. You can read more about this fascinating woman, alongside other Mexican women’s rights activists in this article.

Mare Advertencia Lírika

Feminist rapper and Oaxaca native, Mare Advertencia Lírika (also known as just Mare) started her musical career by getting involved with graffiti which led to her involvement in the OCG crew. She now forms part of the Advertencia Lírika group and has focused more on solo work in recent years, much of which features themes of female empowerment and denouncements of violence against various minority groups. You can read about the other female Mexican musicians worthy of your attention here.

Sofía Castellanos

One of the best artists in Mexico City right now to not be featured in our round-up of female Mexican artists to watch out for (which you can find here), Sofía Castellanos was included in our piece about the Mexican capital’s designers, painters and illustrators that you should know about. Her deceptively simple pen and paint strokes come together to create gorgeously detailed and delicate pieces of art that have made her popular with brands like Corona Capital and Holi Fest Mx. She also dabbles in street art.

The Rise of the Khan | © Sofia Castellanos
The Rise of the Khan | © Sofia Castellanos

Kate del Castillo

Kate del Castillo is known around the world not for her acting, but rather for her involvement in the scandalous El Chapo/Sean Penn interview case that came to light in 2016. However, it should be her acting talents for which you pay her more attention this March, given her hotly anticipated new series Ingobernable (due this month on Netflix) in which she plays the First Lady of Mexico. However, she’s currently better known for her drug queen role on telenovela La Reina del Sur. The rest of the Mexican actresses you need to know about this month can be found here.

Kate del Castillo | © MiamiFilmFestival/WikiCommons
Kate del Castillo | © MiamiFilmFestival/WikiCommons

Ana Karen Ramírez and Daniela González

We featured Ana Karen Ramírez and Daniela González in our piece on the impressive female entrepreneurs of Mexico that everyone should know about. You can find the article here. Ramírez and González are the co-founders of the fantastic Epic Queen initiative, which not only has a brilliant name, but also a brilliant concept – it runs programs that encourage women to go into the fields of technology and innovation, and their monthly events and online courses seem to be proving very popular.

Las Patronas

Finally, another group of Mexican women worthy of your attention this month are the inspirational changemakers Las Patronas. Based in Veracruz, in the pueblo of La Patrona – from which they take their name – this group of women (and a few men) work together to provide food parcels for the many millions of migrants that rumble through their village on a daily basis in an attempt to make it to the northern Mexican border and into the US. For more about this fantastic female collective, you can check out our original article here.

Back: Pepe, Lupe, Rosa, Bernarda. Front: Toña, Karina, Julía, Doña Leo, Norma y María | © JavierGM1/WikiCommons
Back: Pepe, Lupe, Rosa, Bernarda. Front: Toña, Karina, Julía, Doña Leo, Norma y María | © JavierGM1/WikiCommons