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The Honorable State Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez
Women's Action for New Direction (WAND) / Women Legislator's Libby (WiLL)
Ms. Gutierrez spent her childhoot between El Salvador and Maryland, not far from Washington, DC, where her father posted during his diplomatic career. Her father, also a lawyer, economist, and historian, had an important influence on Gutierrez. He had high standards of excellence and expected his daughter to match them, both in her studies and her professional calling. Gutierrez learned to be independent at an early age after her parents agreed to let her remain in thUS on her own to finish high school when they had to return unexpectedly to EL Salvador.
Her interest was in chemistry but turned to a fascination with the revolutionary new technology of computer science. She has been on the cutting edge in the field ever since.
Ms. Gutierrez received her Master’s degree in computer science in 1975 and began competing for higher management positions. “It’s just a fact of life, you have to work almost twice as hard as a woman to get ahead,” she contends, “but if you want to move up, you have to take the risks and put in the extra time.” When she started out she was only paid 40 to 50% of what less qualified male colleagues earned.
Ms. Gutierrez has helped in the resettlement of the Salvadoran refugees coming to the US and is aware of the discrimination that Latino students face in the local schools. She decided to run for school board to find solutions and to address inequities in the distribution of educational resources. In 1994, Gutierrez was re-elected to a second term.
Ms. Gutierrez encourages parents to maintain their language and identity to provide a basis of security for their children. She says that in her own home, “that long-term sense of family and tradition in our culture is what keeps us going.” What also keeps Gutierrez going is her love of learning, finding solutions to problems, and her passion for hard work.