Today’s Doodle celebrates Matilde Hidalgo de Procel
The Ecuadorian physician, poet, and activist, was born on this day in 1889. Here’s the story of her life.
Who was Matilde Hidalgo de Procel?
Matilde Hidalgo de Procel was born in the city of Loja, Ecuador and became the first woman to vote in Latin America in 1924.
Inspiring her country to become the first Latin American state to grant suffrage to all women, she had earlier also becoming the first female Ecuadorian doctor in 1921.
She was youngest of six children raised all raised by a widowed seamstress.
As a keen scholar she desperately wanted to continue her education past the age of 11 and her older brother Antonio requested that she be allowed to go with him to high school with him. Despite being ostracized by her peers, Procel persevered, graduating with honors in 1913.
She graduated in 1913.
Matilde went on to study medicine at the Universidad del Azuay (now known as University of Cuenca), and the Central University, becoming the first female doctor in Ecuadorian history.
In 1924, she signed the register to vote an blazed yet another trail for women’s rights.
When the State Council questioned her right to vote, she pointed out that Ecuador’s Constitution makes no mention of gender as a requirement for voting—only citizenship, age, and literacy. Her argument was affirmed by unanimous vote, ensuring that the name of Procel would long be remembered in the storied history of Ecuador.
She eventually ran for public office, becoming Ecuador’s first female elected official in 1941.
The Ecuadorian government awarded her the Medal of Merit and the Medal of Public Health, while her hometown of Loja established a museum in her honour.