She was the first woman to graduate from a high school in Ecuador, the first physician in her country and also the first to hold popular election positions. But her most remembered achievement is to have become in 1924 the first woman in Latin America to exercise the right to vote. And he opened the ban so that many others could do it later. Google decided on Thursday to pay tribute to him with a colorful doodle – the popular transformations he applies to his logo to celebrate special dates – reflecting his academic and social milestones.
He did it on what would have been his 130th birthday, at least according to Google. On Wikipedia and on the website of the museum that bears his name they say that the date is September 29, 1889.
«Today (Thursday 21 November) we commemorate the physics, poet and activist Matilde Hidalgo de Procel, who was born on a day like today in 1889 in the city of Loja (south of Ecuador),» reads on the website that the search giant dedicates to his doodles.
Matilde Hidalgo was the first Ecuadorian (and Latin American) woman to vote, but also the first to study, practice and phD in medicine.» Inspiring its native Ecuadorian to become the first Latin American country to guarantee suffrage to all women, this pioneer for women’s rights broke glass ceilings all her life, also becoming the first Ecuadorian doctor in a day as today in 1921.»
The doodle was created by illustrator Sophie Diao.
A woman ahead of her time
Hildalgo, the daughter of a seamstress and a merchant, was the youngest of six siblings. She was raised by her mother, Carmen Navarro, after her father, Manuel Hidalgo, died when she was little.
No doubt he had strong convictions from a young age.
At a time when girls completed their training at the age of 11, she expressed her desire to continue her studies and do high school.
Today the situation is quite different Matilde Hidalgo was a step further. He entered college and chose a career that women didn’t have at the time: medicine.
She received her doctorate in 1921 from the Central University, in Quito, after graduating as a doctor at the University of Azuay (now University of Cuenca) with the highest qualifications.
Two years later he married Fernando Procel, a prestigious Ecuadorian lawyer with whom he had two children. The youngest, Fernando, was a doctor like her.
In addition to medicine, Matilde Hidalgo liked poetry and published several poems in which he addressed topics such as nature, science or love.
It reads and writes… I can vote!
On the 1924 day of legislative elections in which registration records were opened, Hidalgo asked to be registered to vote.
At first, officials denied him the right to vote.
His response was to cite the national Constitution, which made no mention of gender: «In order to exercise the right to vote the only requirement is to be over 21 years old and to know how to read and write.»
Ecuador was the first country in Latin America where women were able to vote. It didn’t stay there. His request was raised to the Council of State, which decided to grant it the right after a unanimous vote.
Five years later, in 1929, the country approved women’s suffrage, making it the first Latin American country – along with Puerto Rico – where women participated in national elections.
A decade later, in 1941, Hidalgo would make history again, being the first woman to run for a popular election position in Ecuador and the first elected as public administrator.
The Ecuadorian government recognized his achievements, awarding it with the Medal of Merit and the Medal of Public Health, and in his native Loja they built a museum in his honor.