Women who inspire


Photo courtesy of Zea

From left to right, Laura Zea’s sister, herself and her mother. Photo courtesy of Zea.

In honor of Women’s History Month, students shared with the UT a woman from the past or present who inspired them and shaped their own definitions and expressions of womanhood.

“Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987,” according to history.com.

Miracle Moore

“Women are such inspirational beings, I am most inspired by my mother,” said psych major Miracle Moore. “She is the most beautiful, kind and selfless person I have ever known.”

From left to right, Miracle Moore's mother, sister and herself. Photo courtesy of Moore.
From left to right, Miracle Moore’s mother, sister and herself. Photo courtesy of Moore.

Moore said that her mother persevered through the obstacles in her life with strength, grace and gratitude. Her mother immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines when she was 13 years old. Moore’s mother also helped Moore’s grandmother take care of her ill father and eight other siblings.

“She never graduated high school but has owned several successful businesses and restaurants,” Moore said. “Even to this day, she is such a joyous and loving human even after everything she has gone through.”

Because of the history of women being oppressed, objectified and pitted against each other, Moore feels that it is essential that women encourage and support one another. She considers being a woman a superpower and chooses to spread kindness and love to all the women in her life.

“I hope as a society and a culture, we continue to work together to encourage the independence and equity of women,” Moore said. “I really hope younger generations of women are taught just how incredible and limitless they are.”

Xitlali Tenorio

“A woman who’s always inspired me throughout my life is Frida Khalo,” Xitlali Tenorio, a computer science major said. “Her story is inspiring in the way that she kept pushing through life and was able to turn her pain into something beautiful.”

Xitlali Tenorio (far right) and her younger sisters during Christmas time. Photo courtesy of Tenorio.
Xitlali Tenorio (far right) and her younger sisters during Christmas time. Photo courtesy of Tenorio.

Kahlo was a “Mexican painter best known for her uncompromising and brilliantly colored self-portraits that deal with such themes as identity, the human body, and death,” according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Growing up, Frida Kahlo was the only “big” Latina figure that Tenorio had ever learned about in school. Tenorio said it felt great to be represented culturally and later in life learned that Kahlo was also “unapologetically queer,” which made Tenorio look up to her more.

“She was not just queer, but also a Latina and I saw that even less [in the media]. It felt great to know that there was someone else like me, especially since I grew up in an area where being LGBT wasn’t so commonuntil recently, but it’s still not as accepted,” Tenorio said.

Tenorio has three younger sisters and as the oldest, she wants to be a good example for them. This influenced her to go into STEM. She said going into STEM as a Latina is also brave because “I know there won’t be many like me.”

“As a woman in STEM especially, I try to create a sort of unity with any other woman I see,” Tenorio said. “Because in a male-dominated field, it can be hard to work up the courage to do something as simple as ask a question out of fear of being seen as dumb.”

Tenorio believes that women should be heard all year round, but said this month is a way to bring attention to important issues, such as battling for reproductive rights.

Tenorio is referring to the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, “the historic Supreme Court decision that had guaranteed the right to abortion in the U.S. for nearly 50 years,” according to NPR.

America Duran-Perez

“A woman that inspires me is my sister, Marisol…the first overall in my family to go to college, but it wasn’t the path most would assume,” said civil engineering major America Duran-Perez. “She went into college with no help, or guidance, and didn’t exactly know what to do.”

America Duran-Perez on the left, with her older sister Marisol. Photo courtesy of Duran-Perez.
America Duran-Perez on the left, with her older sister Marisol. Photo courtesy of Duran-Perez.

Duran-Perez said that her sister started at community college because she didn’t have the opportunity or finances for other college opportunities and also struggled with classes and finding her passion.

However, Duran-Perez’s sister ended up transferring to Cal State LA and got her bachelor’s degree in family and child studies, then pursued and achieved her master’s in psychology at Mount Saint Mary’s.

“She did this all while simultaneously working any hour she wasn’t at school, took night classes when necessary and still helping out my parents with what she can,” Duran-Perez said. “If that’s not perseverance, then I don’t know what is.”

Duran-Perez believes that Women’s History Month is a way to display how far women have gotten in life and how much they have continued to withstand.

She said that women may not always align with societal beauty standards or roles that men often dictate and this month showcases that these barriers are meant to be broken.

She supports women by listening to them when they need to vent and offering guidance if needed. She said it feels nice to be heard and hopes to offer that feeling to other women too.

“I’m Latina, and a lot of the time, for a girl, that means becoming a housewife,” Duran-Perez said. “I’m getting my education, studying in a STEM field that’s known to be white and male-dominated, and by the end of it, I don’t plan to settle down. I’m going to make use of my degree, travel as I please, and continue sticking it to the man whilst holding a big heart.”

Rosemary Ché

“Florence Welch inspires me in my daily life constantly,” said Rosemary Ché, a TVFM major. “I’ve been listening to her since high school and I always felt as if her music spoke to me.”

Welch is an English singer and songwriter. She is also the vocalist of the indie rock band Florence And The Machine, according to the U.S. Sun.

Rosemary Ché posing with her Florence Welch record. Photo courtesy of Ché.
Rosemary Ché posing with her Florence Welch record. Photo courtesy of Ché.

Ché said that as a performer, giving her all on stage is very important to her, and she feels that Welch inspires her to do just that. She believes that Welch is a strong performer and writer that is “brutally honest” with herself and her emotions, which helps Ché with her own artistic journey in life.

“Women’s History Month means a chance to celebrate women’s achievements in whatever field they’re in and also a month to truly appreciate what we do for the world,” Ché said.

Ché feels that supporting other women is “excruciatingly important.” She said that everyone lives in a male-dominated society, so if women don’t support other women, they can be lost in their own paths in life.

Ché supports women by watching and uplifting the art other women in her major put out. She said that the film industry is hard to branch into as a woman, especially for women working behind the camera. Ché said she also learns a lot from other women in the process, which she considers a “win.”

“My only hope for myself and other women is that we should never settle for less,” Ché said. I apply this to everything. We deserve more. We deserve better.”

Laura Zea

“My mom is a single mom, so she was both mom and dad and she had me at a very young age,” said Laura Zea, a computer science major.“She’s never given up on anything. She’s never given up on me, and she’s never given up on anyone that I know.”

From left to right, Laura Zea's sister, her mother and her as a child. Photo courtesy of Zea.
From left to right, Laura Zea’s sister, her mother and her as a child. Photo courtesy of Zea.

Zea’s mother had her and her sister and had to leave med school, but ended up going back and graduating. Zea’s mother now has a degree in business and she’s currently pursuing her law degree.

“[Women’s History Month] is something that I would have never imagined because I come from a country where, unfortunately, women are very undervalued,” Zea said. “I was born in Guatemala, and it’s a very sexist country. To have an entire month dedicated to women, it’s such a beautiful thing to me.”

Zea thinks that it is very important to support other women. But she acknowledges that sometimes it’s hard to bring other women to the top because of societal barriers and competition. She said that it’s also just as important to be there for other women emotionally.

“Being a woman is wonderful,” Zea said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It has its downfalls when you really have to fight to be treated like a normal human being, especially as a woman of color, it can be twice as hard. So to me, it’s beautiful and it makes me stronger, in a sense.”