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Google honors Yucatecan feminist hero on her birthday

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Elvia Carrillo Puerto’s 139th birthday is honored in a Google Doodle.


Mérida, Yucatán — A Yucatecan feminist from the early women’s rights movement was honored with a Google Doodle.

Wednesday was the 139th birthday of Elvia Carrillo Puerto, who was known as La Monja Roja, or “The Red Nun.”

A Google Doodle is a high honor in this digital age, and it’s a format that informs and enlightens from a mighty platform: The search engine’s home page.

The Doodle, actually an animation created by Mexico City-based illustrator Hilda Palafox, praises Carillo Puerto for her place in history. It was seen only on computers logged on in Mexico.

Carillo Puerto helped propel feminism to the forefront of Mexican politics in the early 20th century. Poet and early feminist Rita Cetina Gutiérrez taught the young Carillo Puerto ideas of equality between the sexes.

That would form the framework for Carillo Puerto’s lifelong work as a Socialist and a feminist.

She was a founder of feminist resistance organizations like the Rita Cetina Gutiérrez League, which delivered public lectures about women’s health and the need for women in government.

Puerto helped get women the right to vote and be elected in the state of Yucatán. She was elected to the legislature in 1923, along with Beatriz Peniche and Raquel Dzib Cícero, as a member of the Socialist Party of the Southeast.

Her time in office was short lived. After receiving death threats, and the murder of her brother, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, then governor of Yucatán, she fled to Mexico City.

There, she founded the Feminist Socialist League, dedicated to assisting abandoned children and single mothers. Later it became the Women’s Action League that fought for the women’s vote.

Her work would be influential in the introduction of Mexican women’s suffrage nationally in 1953.

Elvia Carrillo Puerto died in the Mexican capital on April 15, 1968 at 90 years of age. She is buried in Mérida’s general cemetery.

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