Of Mexican descent, Juana Inés de la Cruz was born on November 12, 1648 in San Miguel Nepantla. Her abilities stretched over several roles, which included her becoming a nun, a poet and a scholar. Her work is considered to be at the forefront of Mexican literature.
She displayed extraordinary talent to learn from an early age, as could be seen through her ability to read and write at the mere age of three, also learning the Mesoamerican language, Nahuatl, at the tender age of thirteen. By the time she reached sixteen, she wished to attend university but because only men were allowed to enroll she remained in her private studies.
It was later that her talents were noticed by the viceroy and that she was quizzed by several great minds of the society of the time. She received a scholarship and focused her work on the sexism that women endured during that period of history. She wished her work to defend the respect and talent of women. At the time, convents were the only facilities that could accommodate women to fully receive education.
Respuesta a Sor Filotea
Due to her bold personality, she ran the risk of being labeled a heretic by the church at a time when they had significant influence. Though, as her mentors were highly prominent, she didn't suffer any immediate consequences for her actions. Her impression regarding these issues, however, were vigorously expressed in her letter, "Respuesta a Sor Filotea," which sought to defend the rights of women to freely study and have full access to education.
Her controversial methods, however, caught the attention of the wrong sort of influential figures, and sometime in 1693 she seemingly stopped her work. She passed away in 1695, while aiding other nuns at her convent during an outbreak of the plague, which ultimately killed her. Her work isn't widely available, as most records of her work are thought to have been disposed of by the viceroy's wife.