Verónica Cruz Sánchez is being heralded this Women’s History Month.
The 52-year-old Mexican human rights activist is among Time magazine’s twelve 2023 Women of the Year.
“Over the past 18 months, Cruz, a pragmatic, fast-talking 52-year-old who has campaigned for social-justice organizations since she was a teen, has expanded Las Libres into the U.S.,” reads the description of Cruz Sanchez’s work. “After the Texas legislature passed a near total abortion ban in May 2021…. Las Libres now counts around 300 volunteers in the U.S., who have so far assisted some 10,000 women.”
But she isn’t the only Latina to make this year’s list.
Anielle Franco, Brazil’s Minister of Racial Equality, has also made the cute.
The 38-year-old Brazilian politician from the Workers’ Party took office in January as minister for racial equality in Lula da Silva’s second cabinet. Her task is to make sure Lula’s government delivers on his promise of equality for Black and Indigenous Brazilians.”
Other honorees include Cate Blanchett, Angela Bassett, Phoebe Bridgers and Quinta Brunson.
The list highlights what Time calls “extraordinary leaders who are working toward a more equal world.”
Time will host the its second annual Women of the Year Gala on International Women’s Day, on March 8, in Los Angeles.
“Our annual Women of the Year list examines the most uplifting form of influence by spotlighting leaders who are using their voices to fight for a more equal world,” said Time Executive Editor Naina Bajekal and Senior Editor Lucy Feldman in a joint statement. “The 12 women featured on this year’s list come from across the globe and have made significant impact in their respective communities and fields, from activism and government to sports and the arts.”
The Time 2023 Women of the Year list, and the magazine’s descriptions of the recipients, is as follows:
- Cate Blanchett, actor and UNHCR ambassador: “Blanchett is aware… that one global problem connects to another, and yet another. The climate crisis, she says, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a species, and she’s alarmed by the amount of waste she sees in her line of work in particular… At the heart of that evolution is creativity, which demands building on past experience but also being perpetually open to change.”
- Ayisha Siddiqa, environmental and human rights defender: “For the 24-year-old Pakistani human-rights and climate defender, poetry represents hope—a way to bring humanity back into the staid, high-level conversations that increasingly occupy her time… she’s helping to create a system of support that breaks down silos between intergovernmental leaders and local activists, as well as pushing to integrate the rights of humans and nature alike into climate law.”
- Megan Rapinoe, soccer player and champion of equal pay: “The most visible and outspoken member of the back-to-back World Cup–winning team, Rapinoe led a movement that’s been adopted by players in other countries including Canada and Spain and has inspired women across fields to demand equal pay. Rapinoe, 37, will play in her final World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand.”
- Phoebe Bridgers, musical artist: “Five years since she launched her career, Bridgers, 28, has a dedicated base of fans who she thinks of as being like-minded; sometimes, speaking out on the issues that matter to her can feel like adding more noise to an echo chamber. But then there are moments like this, when she watches a young person walk away from her, led by adults who probably don’t like her music any more than they like her message. And that’s when she recognizes that her voice has power.”
- Quinta Brunson, writer, producer, actor: “As a rising leader in Hollywood, she hopes she’s setting an example for Black children everywhere, showing them that they can achieve their goals, no matter where they come from. And for fans of the show, she wants to underscore the value of school communities.”
- Angela Bassett, actor: “Bassett is making Oscars history after playing another kind of royal, the Queen Mother of Wakanda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, snagging Marvel’s first acting nomination…She says her experience playing characters that embody so many things at once has helped her realize it’s OK not to be everything to everyone all the time.”
- Makiko Ono, incoming CEO of Suntory Beverages: “Worth some $10.4 billion, Suntory is the most valuable company under female leadership in Japan, where less than 1% of the top stratum of listed firms have a woman as CEO.”
- Masih Alinejad, Iranian dissident and journalist: “Exiled from Iran since 2009, the journalist and activist has long spoken out against Iran’s restrictions on women…. Her campaign alarmed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who not only rails against her in speeches but even sent his minions to kidnap her…. a similar plot was to end in assassination, according to a U.S. Justice Department indictment.”
- Verónica Cruz Sánchez, reproductive rights activist: “Over the past 18 months, Cruz, a pragmatic, fast-talking 52-year-old who has campaigned for social-justice organizations since she was a teen, has expanded Las Libres into the U.S. After the Texas legislature passed a near total abortion ban in May 2021…. Las Libres now counts around 300 volunteers in the U.S., who have so far assisted some 10,000 women.”
- Olena Shevchenko, activist and leader of war efforts for women and LGBTQI communities in Ukraine: “Since she co-founded the Kyiv-based nonprofit Insight in 2017 to support women and LGBTQI communities, she’s become one of the most recognizable advocates in Ukraine, and has been attacked seven times in the past five years.”
- Anielle Franco, Brazil’s Minister of Racial Equality: “Franco took office in January as minister for racial equality…Her task is to make sure Lula’s government delivers on his promise of equality for Black and Indigenous Brazilians.”
- Ramla Ali, professional boxer and refugee advocate: “Ali, 33, won the 10-round battle against Australia’s Avril Mathie in a unanimous decision that kept her undefeated as a pro.…In 2018, she started Sisters Club, a nonprofit that offers boxing lessons to women who don’t usually enjoy access to the sport: those from ethnic or religious minority backgrounds, as well as survivors of domestic abuse. Sisters Club has expanded to four locations in London, opened a branch in Los Angeles, and will soon add another one in Fort Worth.”