Today's installment of Adventures in Feministory is about a woman who fought for freedom in the Mexican Revolution, reminding her male cohorts that the equal rights they were fighting for should include women as well as men. Meet Dolores Jiménez y Muro: teacher, writer, activist, and Colonel in the Mexican Revolutionary Army.
Born in Aguascalientes in 1848, Jiménez y Muro worked as a schoolteacher, expressing her progressive political views through her poetry and in her position as an editor of La Mujer Mexicana and president of Las Hijas de Cuauhtemoc, a left-wing women's organization whose members were arrested in 1910 for their radical activism.
Once in prison, Jiménez y Muro's activism and participation in the Revolution reached new heights (note to those in power: arresting revolutionaries does not stop them from being revolutionaries—quite the opposite). While incarcerated, she founded the Regeneracion y Concordia, meant to "improve the lot of indigenous races, rural people, workers; to unify revolutionary forces, and elevate women economically, morally and intellectually." Though those working for revolution in Mexico wanted equal rights, Jiménez y Muro was one of the few voices reminding them that those rights should be for women as well as men. Apparently, a 1910 census stated that women accounted for only 8.8% of Mexico's workforce, so many revolutionaries felt the inclusion of women in their political reform efforts was unnecessary (you know, because you have to hit that 10% mark to be counted as a population that deserves equal rights...). Jiménez y Muro argued that this statistic was misleading, since it overlooked the many women unofficially employed as street vendors, artisans, and small-scale commercial farmers, as well as women who chose not to reveal their employment status to male census workers.
Thanks to her excellent writing skills and sense-making ideas regarding women and their value in Mexican society, Jiménez y Muro was selected a part of the group that wrote the "Complot de Tacubaya," a document that took the ideas of several leading progressive thinkers and combined them into a call for the overthrow of President Porfirio Díaz (editors to the rescue!). In addition to her notions of equal pay for men and women, Jiménez y Muro included plans for education and housing reform in the document.
Jiménez y Muro's activism and leadership garnered her the attention of none other than Emiliano Zapata himself, the leader of the Mexican Revolution. He made her one of the few Colonels in the Mexican Revolutionary Army, and she served the cause until his assassination in 1919. For those of you following the dates of this history, that means Dolores Jiménez y Muro was 71 at the end of her revolutionary service! Now that's one badass old lady.
This video offers a bit more of a visual take on her story, though I have to admit that my Spanish is limited and I was only able to understand about 1/3 of what's being said here. Still, you Spanish speakers should take a look (and let me know if I missed anything)!
Dolores Jiménez y Muro died in Mexico City at the age of 77, but her revolutionary spirit continues to inspire women (and men) all over the world.