Aparicio, left, and Villarreal among world's most inspirational women. Aparicio, left, and Villarreal among world's most inspirational women.

2 Mexicans named to list of world’s most influential women

Actress Yalitza Aparicio and programmer Paola Villarreal among BBC's 100 women of 2019

Two Mexicans are on a list of the world’s 100 most influential and inspiring women of 2019.

Oscar-nominated actress Yalitza Aparicio and computer programmer Paola Villarreal are among the British Broadcasting Corporation’s 100 Women of 2019.

The two share the spotlight with teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg, American soccer star Megan Rapinoe, United States Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Uruguayan poet Ida Vitale and Malaysian transgender rights activist Nisha Ayub.

“This year 100 Women is asking: what would the future look like if it were driven by women? . . . Many on the list are driving change on behalf of women everywhere. They give us their vision of what life could look like in 2030,” the BBC said.

While employed as an elementary school teacher, Yalitza Aparicio was chosen for the leading role in Roma, the Oscar-winning film by Alfonso Cuarón.

A Mixtec woman from the state of Oaxaca, she became the first indigenous woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for best actress. She now advocates for gender equality, the rights of indigenous communities and constitutional protection for domestic workers.

“The ideal future for women is one in which we achieve gender equality,” she told the BBC. “We have the same rights and the same opportunities as men. In the workplace, a future in which we receive just pay and are compensated for the value we create would be a good start.”

The MIT-trained computer programmer Paola Villarreal helped to overturn 20,000 racially biased drug sentences through the development of Data for Justice, a tool with an interactive map that compares police activity in white and minority neighborhoods.

She also made the 2018 MIT Innovators Under 35 LATAM list for this project.

“There is still time to use data and technology to redistribute power among those that have been historically forgotten,” she said. “If we don’t do it now, the data and technology will only automate the status quo and all the biases and inequalities that currently exist.”

Sources: El Financiero (sp), BBC (en)

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