Break the Bias, International Women's Day

Break the Bias: 5 Latina entrepreneurs share how they have overcome biases and work to eliminate barriers for women

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all Break the Bias. 

Globally, companies, organizations, communities, and individuals come together annually on March 8th to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women, raise awareness against gender biases, and take action for equality. 

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is: Break the Bias, focusing on actions to help break the biases women face both personally and professionally.

Here at Latinas in Business, we celebrate and amplify the voices of Latina and women entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals who are constantly breaking barriers, defying stereotypes, and championing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Join us in celebrating some of the many Latinas in our circle who are doing great work to Break the Bias and create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive world.

Mónica Ramirez

Justice for Migrant Women

Justice for Migrant Women founder, Monica Ramirez.

Mónica Ramirez is a long-time advocate, organizer, social entrepreneur, and attorney fighting to eliminate gender-based violence and secure gender equity. For over two decades, she has fought for the civil and human rights of women, children, workers, Latinos/as, and immigrants. 

She is the founder of Justice for Migrant Women, a 501(c)(3) independent non-profit that  works to amplify the voices of migrant women and the struggles they face in their personal and work lives and create space for them when so many of them are silenced. 

Through public awareness and educational campaigns, art activism, and strategic media initiatives, Justice for Migrant Women is bringing the issues and struggles of migrant women to the forefront of national conversation. 

And like the people she serves as a leader and advocate, Mónica too has faced doubt and criticism throughout her career for her identity as a Latina. 

“Throughout my career, some of the biggest obstacles that I have faced relate to the fact that I am a young Latina woman. Many people doubted my ability to create or sustain an organization to make my vision become a reality. They questioned my credentials and whether I could be the kind of leader worth investing in,” Mónica says. “I serve individuals who are also doubted and not given enough credit for their resilience, strength, and courage. They somehow not only survive but thrive and help the rest of us survive, too!”

Monica continues to Break the Bias and fight for social change by focusing on community because she believes “social change can not come from the back of an individual, it takes a diverse and dedicated community of allies…and together we will win!” 

Read more about her mission and her work here.

Mariela Dabbah

Mariela Dabbah, CEO and Founder, Red Shoe Movement

Mariela Dabbah, CEO and Founder, Red Shoe Movement

Mariela Dabbah is aTEDx and International speaker, award-winning, best-selling author and go-to corporate authority for Fortune 500 companies interested in inclusive cultures, and the founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement

The Red Shoe Movement is a leadership development company powered by a global community of women and men allies who support each other for career success. The movement works to Break the Bias in the workplace by fighting for greater gender diversity and inclusion. 

During the height of the pandemic, Mariela and her team worked hard to support and uplift struggling women and create initiatives and programs to help keep women in the workforce as many began to lose their jobs or leave their careers. 

“As the pandemic has proven, it’s impossible to predict what will happen five years from now. But our mission is to level the playing field for women and we will continue to do whatever we can to achieve it,” says Mariela. 

The Red Shoe Movement continues to develop new programs to address the needs of its clients and communication campaigns that keep raising awareness to reach gender equity.

Read more about the Red Shoe Movement and Mariela’s story here.

Stacie de Armas

advocacy for Latinos, breaking stereotypes

Stacie de Armas, Senior Vice President of Diversity Insights & Initiatives at Nielsen.

Stacie de Armas is the Senior Vice President of Diversity Insights & Initiatives at Nielsen, where she conducts data harvesting, narrative development, and socialization of inclusive insights that cascade across multiple diverse identity groups—storytelling with a purpose. She is passionate about equity and advocacy for Latinos. 

Stacie de Armas says being a Latinas has been her “superpower” in her work. At Nielsen, her position sits in a unique space that allows her to use Nielsen’s resources to uncover diverse community insights that empower and educate. Growing up, she never imagined she could do this job or have an extensive background as a consumer researcher, behaviorist, and thought leader in diverse communities. 

“I never knew I could be a researcher. Growing up, stereotypes surrounded me on television, if I saw myself at all. And I didn’t realize that I could be more,” says Stacie. “I didn’t see myself on screen, and when I did, I didn’t see a doctor, or a scientist, or a strong woman. I often saw Latinas presented in a light that I didn’t recognize and wasn’t my truth. In my job, I get to change that stereotype for all women.”  

Now, she’s working to Break the Bias for herself and others to show Latinas their power and potential.

Read more about Stacie’s career journey and how she defied stereotypes here.

Alice Rodriguez 

Alice Rodriguez, Managing Director, Head of JPMC Community Impact JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Alice Rodriguez is a Consumer Bank Senior Advisor and has also served on numerous boards. Currently she is the Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

With over 30 years of extensive banking experience at JP Morgan Chase and positions in business banking, consumer banking, Alice Rodriguez serves a leading role in community engagement initiatives and localization strategies. 

As a Latina leader, she has also faced many obstacles throughout her career. She shared some of her story with Latinas in Business last year as a Keynote Speaker at our annual Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Summit (WEES).

“Behind every great woman there is another great woman,” Alice said. Alice’s great “sheroe” was her mother, Alicia Nuñez Ramírez who had the most impact on her life. 

Growing up, Alice saw how her mother overcame a lot of adversity. “She had this very strong ability to never get flustered, which I learned from her and I believe she was completely ahead of her time.  She was a strong independent Latina that just did not take a no for an answer and I recognize that I stand on her shoulder. She came here with a middle school education and it didn’t stop her from learning. She taught me everything, how important family is, values, faith, how to create your own success and take a risk. She was always figuring out how to get over those barriers.” 

Today, Alice continues to eliminate those barriers and Break the Bias through her work as a leader and executive and industry. 

Read Alice’s insights on the power to success here. 

Maria Piastre 

Maria Piastre, CEO of Metallix Refining. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

After only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre was appointed Metallix Refining Inc. President. Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President. 

As President, Maria brought to the position a sense of humility that transcends not just gender but embraces a new generation of values, of learning and reward based on individual merit, with the only limits being those you set yourself.

“As an immigrant to the US, I know only too well the challenges we all will encounter, especially for minority groups. The road will not always be smooth, and regardless of your cultural background, you should believe in yourself, your self-worth, your ability to succeed and that your qualities will always shine through to achieve rewards.”

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria has witnessed and experienced many changes over the last 12 years and has been influential to many changes herself. 

Maria continues to Break the Bias in her industry by creating a work culture that is free from gender discrimination. Through Maria’s values, Metallix is a multicultural employer with promotions based on ability, not gender, and an environment where there is no place for discrimination or bullying. 

Read Maria’s full story and career journey here.

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can break the bias in our communities. We can break the bias in our workplaces. We can break the bias in our schools, colleges and universities. Together, we can all break the bias – on International Women’s Day (IWD) and beyond.

How will you Break the Bias

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This day is also a call-to-action, bringing awareness to women’s issues and fighting for gender equality worldwide. 

International Women's Day

Empowered women, empower women.

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to:

  • celebrate women’s achievements
  • raise awareness about women’s equality
  • lobby for accelerated gender parity
  • fundraise for female-focused charities

The history of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s. The first official International Women’s Day was celebrated over 100 years ago on March 19, 1911 has been celebrated each year ever since. 

The first International Women’s Day came about when, in 1910 at the second International Convention of Working Women in Copenhagen, a woman named Clara Zetkin proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands and bring attention to women’s issues. 

The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, responded to Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval, thus creating International Women’s Day. Then, the following year, in 1911, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland where more than one million women and men attended rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, and hold public office. 

In the years and decades that followed, International Women’s Day continued to bring to light pressing issues that women faced, and fight for gender equality and rights. Finally, in 1975, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations and in 1996 the UN announced their first annual Women’s Day theme, “Celebrating the past, Planning for the future.” Since then each International Women’s Day has had a focus theme. 

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world“, which celebrates the tremendous efforts of women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some influential Latinas who have made history

Ellen Ochoa 

NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On April 8, 1993, Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go into space. Aboard the Discovery shuttle for a total of nine days, Ochoa conducted important research about the Earth’s ozone layers. Since then, she has gone on three space flights, and spent a total of 1,000 hours in space. 

In 2013, Ochoa went on to become the first Hispanic director, and second female director, of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas–another huge achievement for women and Latinas. 

Dolores Huerta 

Jay Godwin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Doing back-breaking work under the unforgiving sun, sleeping in rough shacks with dozens of men to a room, all for below-poverty-level wages; farm workers in the early 20th Century, most of whom were immigrants from Central America, had a hard, painful, unjust life. That is, until Dolores Huerta and others like her came along. In 1965, Huerta created the United Farm Workers, and organization that worked tirelessly to improve the working conditions for farm workers. By leading boycotts, picketing, protesting and lobbying, Huerta was instrumental in bringing about legislation that protects some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 


Known to the world as simply “Selena,” the pop superstar brought Mexican Tejano music to the masses. Selena, along with Rita Moreno and Gloria Estefan, was one of the few Latin pop stars who crossed over into the mainstream. She is known and one of the most influential Latin artists of all time, winning a Grammy award in 1993 and a gold record in 1994 with Amor Prohibido. Her music is loved by millions and it is said she would have become the next Madonna had her career not been tragically cut short. Still, Selena lives on as a cultural icon for Latinas, a successful artist, and a beloved celebrity. 

Julia de Burgos 

Bust of Julia de Burgos. (Ir2409, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Julia de Burgos was a successful published poet in her native Puerto Rico, though she struggled to get the recognition she deserved after moving to the U.S. in the 1930s. Her poems centered on themes that some considered ahead of their time, such as feminism and social justice. She also celebrated her identity as an black, immigrant Latina in her writing–all things that were outside the mainstream in early 20th-century poetry circles. 

Her bold and daring writing has inspired readers for decades and helped set the stage for many Latino writers to come. 

Maria Elena Salinas 

Maria Elena Salinas

Award-winning journalist, Maria Elena Salinas (Photo Credit: Gio Alma)

Maria Elena Salinas is the longest running female news anchor on U.S. television, and is the first Latina to receive a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. Dubbed the “Voice of Hispanic America” by The New York Times, Salinas has become a figurehead for the Latino community. 

She has always used her platform to cover issues that affect Latinos today, as well as being an active philanthropist, working to increase voter registration in the Latino community and helping Latino youth get into journalism.