May 30, 2020

13 women chosen by Primo de Rivera

This Thursday marks 92 years of the entry into the Chamber of Congress of the first women who occupied a seat in Spain, a total of 13 women who were elected to be part of the National Assembly created by the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera and that he held his first meeting on October 10, 1927.

The general had come to power through a coup d'etat in September 1923 and needed a body that promoted general legislation that legitimized his regime. Its members came to write a draft monarchical Constitution but did not see the light because he did not even have the acquiescence of the dictator.

According to the Royal Decree of September 12, 1927, the National Assembly had consultative and supervisory tasks, but it did not imply any counterweight to the executive branch, but rather the opposite, because its more than 400 members, directly or indirectly, were appointed by the government.

Males and "single, widowed or married females" could always belong to the Assembly, though, that the latter were "duly authorized by their husbands" and that these were not assembly members. The Council of Ministers appointed 15 women as parliamentarians in October 1927, but two of them resigned from the post, and between 1928 and 1930, three others joined.

Among the chosen ones, of course, there were a majority of supporters of the regime and Catholics, their ages ranged from 29 to 76, teachers abounded and there were also several nobles. The bulk exercised as representatives of national life activities and only two as representatives of the State.

The youngest, who set foot on the Carrera de San Jerónimo with 29 years, was the Pamplona Micaela Díaz Rabaneda, a teacher, who participated in the debates on the draft Statute of First Teaching. Pedagogue by profession was Natividad Domínguez Atalaya, who also participated in educational debates, as well as the Vitoriana María de Maeztu and Whitney, director of the Residencia de Señoritas and president of the women's Lyceum Club.


On November 23, 1927 Concepción Loring Heredia, Marquise widow of La Rambla, became the first woman to take the floor in the Hemicycle. He did so to defend before the Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts that the teaching of religion was obligatory in the institutes.

As recorded in the Journal of Sessions, collected by Europa Press, the speaker began by greeting the Government and almost apologizing for intervening: "Feeling after the need to find an apology for what might seem bold (and, it is a precise obligation) to be the first woman who speaks from that place, and the superior competence of my companions being so notorious. "

As a literary critic, the Sevillian writer Blanca de los Ríos Nostench, a disciple of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, stood out. His name rang several times to enter the Royal Academy, although he never got it.

Carmen Cuesta del Muro, a promoter of Catholic Action for Women, was also a pioneer, who requested the creation of women's secondary schools and defended women's rights in the debates on the reform of the Civil Code.

They also belonged to Catholic Action of Women María de Echarri Martínez, labor inspector, who promoted labor improvements for women workers, and María López de Sagredo, who acceded to the position with the intention of bringing the problems of women and women to the National Assembly. childhood. Likewise, María López de Monleón, a member of the National Confederation of Catholic Workers, came from social Catholicism, and Josefina Olóriz, a professor and member of the Patriotic Union, was also of conservative tendency.


The two representatives of the State were Isidra Quesada and Gutiérrez de los Ríos, Marquesa de Miravalles and widow countess of Aguilar de Inestrillas, who entered the Congress with 76 years, had been queen of the queens Cristina and Victoria Eugenia and was part of the Royal Patronage for the Suppression of the White Traffic. It was also designated for its proximity to royalty and its charities Trinidad von Scholtz Hermensdorff, Duchess of Parcent.

Another of those designated, although he resigned from his seat, was Dolores Cebrián and Fernández de Villegas, a teacher far removed from the regime's postulates, who was a member of the female Lyceum Club and wife of the socialist leader Julián Besteiro, who later became the first president of the Courts in the Second Republic. The other who delivered his record was Esperanza García de la Torre, wife of the Marquis de Luca de Tena.

In 1928 the journalist María de los Dolores Perales and González Bravo landed in the National Assembly, one of the leaders of the Union of Spanish Ladies of the Sacred Heart. In 1930 two other women arrived: Clara Frías Cañizares and the Catalan María Domènech y Escoté, sociologist and founding poet of the Trade Union Federation of Workers, who worked for women's access to culture and education.


These were the pioneers who participated in the institutional political life at the national level, but not the first women who entered the institutions, since since 1925 there were already several councilors in different municipalities and even some mayors. In fact, several of the assembly members were also mayor.

It was also under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera when women could be released in local politics thanks to the Municipal Statute casually approved on March 8, 1924, which allowed "women heads of household" to be elected as long as they maintained that condition, they would have turned 25 and they knew how to read and write (except in villages with fewer than one thousand inhabitants).

This rule also recognized the right to vote in municipal elections for women over 23 years of age who were not in a "parental authority, marital authority or guardianship" regime, that is, the emancipated, single or widowed. The married women could not vote to avoid arguing in the marriage and this right was not recognized for prostitutes.


This statute allowed women's access to town halls, but finally the elections that had been planned for 1925 were not held and the privileged ones that could have been released by voting in them could not do so. In 1926 the Spaniards over 18 without distinction of sex could participate in the plebiscite organized by Primo de Rivera to strengthen their power.

But that was exceptional because the women also did not vote in the municipal districts of February 1931 that caused the proclamation of the Second Republic because they were excluded from the census by the Berenguer government, which took the reins after the resignation of Primo de Rivera.

The draft Constitution that drafted the National Assembly did include in its article 55 the integral vote for all Spaniards without distinction of sex, but finally the text was not approved. It would not be, therefore, until the approval of the Republican Constitution of 1931 when the universal suffrage in Spain that women exercised for the first time in November 1933 would be recognized.

It was after an intense debate between Clara Campoamor and Victoria Kent, that they could be elected, such as Margarita Nelken, thanks to the Niceto Alcalá Zamora government amended the 1907 Electoral Law to include women as eligible for the Constitutional Courts and also to the clergy

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