As a Sephardic Jew growing up in a country that was 95% Catholic, Rita Arditti knew what it meant to be a "minority within a minority". Born in Argentina in 1934 to parents who were Turkish immigrants, Rita was aware as a young child that, "To be a Sephardic Jew in Argentina is to be invisible." It was, in part, that awareness of invisibility that helped to develop Rita's political consciousness.
While researching genetics at Brandeis University and later at Harvard, Rita helped found two activist groups: Science for the People, and the Women's Community Cancer Project.
In the 1980's Rita's interest in the intersection of science and politics moved to the human rights arena when she agreed to translate for a Boston tour of the grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Rita was moved by the women's search for grandchildren who had disappeared under Argentina's military dictatorship from 1976-83. During annual visits to Argentina, Rita decided to write a book about their struggle to find children who might be living under assumed identities. With the publication of Searching for Life: The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina, the story of the missing became an international one. The first in depth study of the grandmother's work, Searching for Life helped to publicize a quest that was often fraught with danger. In 2001 the grandmothers were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Rita's book was part of the supporting documentation offered for that nomination.