Maria Elena Salinas
Co-anchor of Noticiero Univision and Aquí y Ahora
“Women are taking on bigger and better roles in the media. And although not yet on an equal scale as men, we are shown as leaders and decision-makers. Unfortunately, for Latinas and women of color that is not the case. Stereotypes abound, and defy reality.”
What do you think of the media’s portrayal of women?
Women are taking on bigger and better roles in the media. And although not yet on an equal scale as men, we are shown as leaders and decision-makers. Unfortunately, for Latinas and women of color that is not the case. Stereotypes abound, and defy reality.
Have you seen any changes in the political landscape for women over the past few years? What are they?
Women have made some inroads in politics in the last 20 years, since the so-called “Year of the Woman” in 1992. There are more women serving in Congress and in state and local offices. It is amazing though that this country does not seem ready to elect a woman to the presidency when so many other countries have. In our own continent women have been elected in Nicaragua, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Panama in spite of the macho society that predominates. Women, however, have consistently gained more and more power as voters and influencers in election years.
Do you feel the extreme left and right wings of U.S. politics are destroying the United in United States, or is it just healthy debate?
The debate would be a lot healthier if there was not extremism involved. I have never seen the country so divided. The extreme positions make it very difficult for any type of compromise. Extreme positions are not for the betterment of the people, but rather the self interest of the parties involved.
Do you feel the decline of religion in the rest of the Western World will have an effect on U.S. society? If so, will it be good or bad?
Deep question. It is already having an effect in U.S. society where people want to feel more independent. Times have changed, attitudes have changed, but most religions remain the same. That is drawing more people, at least more Catholics, to Evangelical movements where they feel they can be spiritual without following the rules of an out of touch church hierarchy. On another note, I am a strong believer in the separation of Church and State.
Can you tell us about one of the biggest challenges in your life that you think helped you become the person you are today?
I grew up in a low income family in Los Angeles. We never owned a home or traveled abroad. My mother was a seamstress and made all of our clothes. I began working at 14 years of age to pay for my private education and help my parents with the rent. This gave me a strong work ethic that has helped me take on any challenge knowing that there’s nothing I can’t accomplish if we work hard. That’s probably why I am such a workaholic. I take on any challenge without thinking about it twice.
Do today’s young people face a bigger challenge than you did?
I think young people today have it easier. My generation went through tough times and it led us to want more for our children. The opportunities for education today are better and more reachable than they were before. It is particularly better for young girls thanks to those that helped paved the way.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t be a conformist and don’t allow yourself to be mediocre.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
My father. He passed away in 1985 and left behind many secrets. After he died, I found out he had been a priest and had lived in this country as an undocumented immigrant for many years. I wish I could sit with him and ask him why he left the church, why he kept it a secret, and what the circumstances were in his life that led him to live here without proper documents.
What is your favorite book (fiction or nonfiction)?
Who moved my cheese? It’s a simple little book, but always a reminder that we must have the ability to adapt to changes in life.