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Carmen Delgado Votaw

Carmen Delgado Votaw was born in Puerto Rico on September 29, 1935. She came to the United States with her husband in 1962. Carmen is a national and international leader in civil rights, particularly equal opportunities for Hispanics and women.

Carmen saw the cultural barriers that prevent women’s participant in national development. She worked with both men and women to lobby and enlighten politicians to the inequities women faced. She advocated for human rights agencies to include women’s rights in their action agendas.  She has served key positions at the Alliance for Children and Families, the United Way of America and the Girl Scouts of America.

Her experience in the United States with minority women and men has given her a unique perspective which she has carried abroad and replicated in other countries. In the Latin America region, she created women’s bureaus, increased the number of countries that have signed the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, increased number of women in political and appointed offices, improved access to technology for rural women, and decreased the illiteracy rate among women.

Carmen received two U.S. Presidential appointments – first to the International Women’s Year Commission and then as a co-chair of President Carter’s National Advisory Committee on Women. She was also appointed as the U.S. Delegate to the Inter-America Commission of Women, where she was elected President in 1978 and significantly influenced the status of women throughout the Americas.

Carmen has received many awards and recognitions for her work, including the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education, Las Primeras Awards from the Mexican American Women’s National Association and was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. She is the author of “Puerto Rican Women” with biographies of women role models, and numerous book chapters and articles.

ICareVillage interviewed Carmen in her home in Maryland in April 2010.