Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society & Culture - Vol. 1

By Michael S. Werner | Go to book overview

G

GADSDEN PURCHASE

See Mesilla, La


GALINDO ACOSTA DE TOPETE, HERMILA

1886–1954 • Feminist, Writer, and Politician

Hermila Galindo was born in Ciudad Lerdo, Durango, on May 29, 1886, to Rosario Galindo and Hermila Acosta de Galindo. Hermila’s mother died when she was a few days old, and she was brought up by her father’s sister. She went to primary school in the city of Durango and secondary school at the Girls’ Technical College in Chihuahua. When her father died young, her knowledge of English, shorthand, typing, and bookkeeping enabled her to give private lessons.

Hermila Galindos first incursion into political activity was in Torreón, Durango, on March 21, 1909, during a celebration commemorating the birth of Benito Juárez. She was a fervent admirer of Juárez and took down in shorthand the speech made that day by Francisco Martínez Ortiz, a lawyer who opposed longtime dictator Porfirio Díaz. This shorthand version meant the speech survived, despite attempts by the local authorities to suppress it. Months later, a group of Partido Democrático (Democratic Party) members (Benito Juárez Maza, Diódoro Batalla, and Heriberto Barrón) heard of her exploit and asked her to join the political struggle.

When Francisco I. Maderos Revolution triumphed in 1911, Galindo was living in Mexico City, where she was active in politics and taught shorthand in state schools. Her brief political career began in August 1914, when she gave a speech on behalf of the political club “Abraham González” welcoming the Constitutionalists to Mexico City. Her oratorical skill in drawing parallels between Benito Juárez and the Constitutionalist Venustiano Carranza, and her staunch defense of the Reform Laws, earned her an invitation to work directly for Carranza.

Galindo moved to Veracruz at the end of 1914 when, squeezed by the rival Conventionalist armies, Carranza’s government established itself there. She worked tirelessly in the press and at political meetings in support of the Constitutionalist revolution, and her defense of equal rights for women also made her the best-known suffragette of the Mexican Revolution.

In response to a request from the Constitutionalist government, Galindo went on a political tour of the states of Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatán in the latter half of 1915. Her work in Yucatán inspired the First Yucatán Women’s Congress (January 13 to 16, 1916), convened by Salvador Alvarado, a Constitutionalist general who was governor and military commander of the state from 1915 to 1918.

Although Galindo did not actually attend the First Women’s Congress personally, her speech “La mujer del porvenir” (The Woman of the Future), which closed the congress, had an enormous impact. Quoting various European thinkers, Galindo expounded a rational education for women to include intellectual activity, physical exercise, and knowledge of human anatomy. She shocked the congress by stating that the female sexual urge was as strong as the male. She said that infanticide and abortion were social problems stemming from the prevailing sexual double standard, which applauded male sexual conquests yet condemned the female victims of male seduction to social opprobrium. Despite being deemed immoral, the speech was included in the official papers of the Women’s Congress because Galindo had the political support of Governor Alvarado.

In response to these accusations of immorality, Galindo wrote “Estudios de la Señorita Hermila Galindo con motivo de los temas que han de absolverse en el Segundo Congreso Feminista de Yucatán” (“A Paper by Miss Hermila Galindo Outlining Matters to Be Discussed in the Second Yucatán Women’s Congress,” which was held from November 23 to December 6, 1916). Published as a pamphlet, this document, Galindo’s most radical, took the ideas set out in “The Woman of the Future” even further. She took the classic liberal stance of demanding the right of women to take part in the lawmaking process and share equal voting rights with

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Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society & Culture - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor’s Note vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Alphabetical List of Entries xvii
  • Thematic Outline of Entries xxiii
  • A 1
  • B 125
  • C 175
  • D 391
  • E 423
  • F 465
  • G 549
  • H 625
  • I 667
  • J 715
  • K 723
  • L 727
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