Woman of the Month is a feature on my blog where each month I highlight a woman in the world who I think garners recognition. I started this mainly to increase Girl Power and empowerment, and because there’s a lot of women I feel are overlooked and I wanted to bring attention to them.
This month I’m highlighting Graciela Olivarez.
Graciela Olivarez was a lawyer who advocated for civil rights and supported the poor. She was the director of the women’s program of a Spanish-language radio station, where she was one of the first female radio disk jockeys in Phoenix. She also worked for the Careers for Youth program where she counselled Mexican American families and worked to reduce juvenile delinquency. She was the State Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity for Arizona and was later appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson to the National Advisory Council.
She was first woman and the first Latina to graduate from the Notre Dame Law School in 1970. There is now an annual award given at the school in her name to support Latinx persons. She was appointed the director of the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research and Development in 1972, and became New Mexico’s State Planning Officer in 1975. She served as the chair of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and was one of two women on its board.
Jimmy Carter appointed her the director of the Community Services Administration in 1977 where she became the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Carter administration.
Thanks for reading! xx