During WWII women were needed to run the economy while men went off to fight the good fight. Rosie the Riveter and Wonder Woman were created to change women’s perceptions about what we could accomplish. Before the 1940’s women were encouraged to stay at home – and told a Woman’s Place is the Home – Women are the weaker sex – it’s a Man’s World.
And yet today we know that a Woman’s place is in the House (and Senate) and maybe in the near future the Big White House. Research shows women are indeed the stronger sex. We live longer; have greater stamina and better health. Mother Nature would not choose “the weaker sex” to give birth and keep the species going. No way Jose! And as far as this being a man’s world – well it’s time to create a world that works for everybody especially women and children.
Wonder Woman was initially depicted as a warrior that fought the evil axis military forces. WOW! What a transformation! Women could see themselves as leaders with power and strength.
Wonder Woman also had superhuman powers – two are particularly important for women today.
- Her lasso of truth forced anyone it captured to obey and tell the truth. Imagine having one of those today – how different would our society would be if our leaders told the truth and obeyed what was good and just.
- She also had an array of psychic abilities – telepathy and ESP – “Well we women don’t know how we know what we know we just know we know it.” It’s our intuition. We have to start trusting this special sense and inner compass. We know what is right for our children, our communities, our country and our future.
Wonder Woman is a Latina
In 1975 during the second wave of feminism the Wonder Woman TV show was launched and again depicted our power, wisdom, and search for justice. The show starred Lynda Carter, a proud Latina from Arizona whose mother was Juanita Cordova. Carter was once Miss World USA and named the most beautiful woman in the world.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the show. Carter continues to be a role model for Latinas and women’s empowerment. “Wonder Woman was a real force. She had her own ideas about things. She just really saw a need like so many women do and I’ve discovered that the archetype of Wonder Woman really lives in all of us… It’s who we really are. That secret self that yearns to be out and that we hope is appreciated and even if it isn’t we still do what do.”
Yes, but what does Wonder Woman mean to Latinas and women leaders today?
She Broke the Chains Limiting Women
In five short years we will celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage. Yet women today have not reach equity in most arenas and certainly not in the top levels of leadership. To change this we will have to ignite our warrior spirit and embrace Wonder Woman Leadership.
Because almost 40 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women still earn 80 cents to the man’s dollar. Latinas earn 60 cents. Thirty percent of female headed households are in poverty – and in the richest country in the world – more than 1 in 5 of our children are poor and go to bed hungry. For Latino and Black children it is 1 in 3. Today the most common job for women is still secretaries! A woman with a college degree can expect to make 1.2 million less over her life time than her male counterparts. The income for the middle class has not grown for 30 years which hurts women and children the most. And AARP members listen up – elder women are one of the fastest growing poverty groups. On the average their income is $8,000 a year less than retired men.
The U.S. ranks 71 for women’s national political representation – just behind Kenya and Saudi Arabia. Latinas can take pride that Bolivia is 2nd, Ecuador 8th, and Nicaragua 10th in women’s representation. It seems like Latinos have a better understanding of the importance of including women’s voice in the political arena.
Let’s not forget that the doors opened for women are due to the suffragettes and then the feminists of the 1960’s. As we approach the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, there is still much work to be done. Let this anniversary be a call to renew the momentum – to revive Wonder Woman leadership and ignite our warrior spirit. It is time to jump start the women’s movement – to take out our lassos of truth – and to use our array of psychic/intuitive abilities to discern our contribution to creating a just, equitable and inclusive world for our children and grandchildren. It is time to reinstate women’s role as the protectors of children and the weavers of the good society.
There was another old saying they use to tell women — “A Woman’s Work is never done!!” Yep that is right! So let’s finish the Job Ladies!! We have the power, we are warriors, we have Wonder Woman leadership!
WonderWoman was revitalized for a new generation in the exciting 1975 TV series featuring Lynda Carter whose mom was Juanita Cordova. Lynda one of the first Latinas to star in a TV series.
Juana Bordas is President of Mestiza Leadership International. Juana was a founder of Denver’s Mi Casa Women’s Center and served as executive director. Today, Mi Casa is recognized as a national model for women’s empowerment. She was founding President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI), the only program in America that prepares Latinas for national leadership. In 2001 she founded the Circle of Latina Leadership to prepare the next generation of leaders.
Her book Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age won the International Latino Book Award for leadership in 2008. Her new book The Power of Latino Leadership was released in 2013 and has received compelling endorsements. Juana served as advisor to Harvard.s Hispanic Journal on Public Policy, the Kellogg National Fellows Program, as board vice chair of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, and a trustee of the International Leadership Association. She received an honorary doctorate from Union Institute in 2009.