During Women’s History Month, many inspirational women are recognized for their accomplishments and talents, but many among them have had to face obstacles on their way to recognition.
Story by Alex Puente
Women with intersectional identities, such as queer women and women of color, aren’t always given the chance to have their voices heard. For the ones who rise to fame, they provide representation that is crucial for other women who aspire to be like them. Here are some successful women to celebrate during this Women’s History Month.
First known for her role as Sophia Burset on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” Laverne Cox has used her growing fame and platform to give voice to the transgender community. Cox became the first black trans woman to produce and star in her own TV show, “TRANSform Me,” which was nominated for a GLAAD media award. She was also the first openly transgender celebrity to win an Emmy award and be on the cover of Time Magazine. Her many accomplishments have made her into an influential and significant advocate for the trans community, and she’s used her own experiences as a transgender woman of color to speak and write about the importance of human rights.
Maybe you’ve seen her in performance in “Fences,” or perhaps you recognize her as professor Annalise Keating from your last binge of “How to Get Away With Murder.” Regardless, it’s no surprise that Viola Davis has received the Triple Crown of Acting. She is the first black woman to have won an Academy Award, Emmy Award and a Tony Award. From poverty to Juliard to the big-screen, Davis has faced much adversity on her journey to success. She has used the obstacles she’s faced to her advantage and has spoken out about the lack of diversity in Hollywood, encouraging people to create more roles for talented people of color.
Rita Moreno is a Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer. After playing the character Anita in “West Side Story,” Moreno was the first Hispanic actress to win an Academy Award. She is one of only 12 artists who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy. Having had over 70 years of experience in the industry, Moreno often faced the dilemma of being stuck with roles that stereotyped Hispanic women. Her determination to see other Hispanics and Latinx succeed in their ambitions helped push her forward, both as a performer on the stage and a civil rights activist fighting for immigration rights.
Best known for her stand-up comedy, Margaret Cho is an openly bisexual Korean woman and a fierce advocate for various social issues. Her stand-up routines often give attention to political issues having to do with race and sexuality, and her outspokenness towards conservative administration has drawn a lot of attention. She’s also been incredibly outspoken in crucial topics such as sexual assault, substance abuse and bullying. Cho has received awards from GLAAD, Lambda Legal and NOW for her work in promoting equality for women as well as the LGBTQ community.
Rosario Dawson is an actress who has starred in a multitude of films such as “Sin City” and “Rent.” She is also known for Claire Temple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starring shows like “Jessica Jones” and “Daredevil.” Dawson does not stray away from politics, having been arrested in 2016 while protesting during the Democracy Spring at Capitol Hill. She’s also spoken out against domestic violence and showed support for the LGBT community by campaigning for organizations like PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).