During the 19th and 20th centuries, women gradually entered the educational system, overcoming external and internal resistance. “Education meant a break with the established social canons and many gave it up because they did not confront their families, or they had to harmonize contradictions in themselves, feeling guilty for wanting what was not reserved for them”, explains Magdalena Lasala, the author of the second volume of the project ‘Legados de Mujeres Aragonesas’ promoted by the Equality Service of the Zaragoza City Council to make visible and recognize the forgotten work of professionals who, although not sufficiently recognized, stood out for their intellectual activity and contributed to creating the female identity in Aragon.
Names such as that of Julia Peguero Sanz, a teacher, pedagogue and communicator who was a pioneer in defending the participation of women in public life, as well as co-founder in 1918 of the National Association of Spanish Women (ANME), of which she occupied various management positions, until her presidency, as the fourth and last president. Or María Sánchez Arbós, born in Huesca who incorporated all the principles of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, the most advanced in pedagogy at that time. He also studied in Madrid and was in contact with all the intellectuals of the time, in addition to writing several works about the school of the future.
Among the pages of this book that gives names and surnames to Aragonese women, there also appear Pepita Castán, a native of Graus and one of the first great pedagogues of the 20th century; Sponsorship Ojuel, a pioneer in introducing the Montessori method in Aragon, or Gregoria Brun, from Hecho (Huesca), a teacher who educated many generations of teachers and who became the director of the Escuela Normal de Maestras in Zaragoza in 1856.
There is also Andresa Recarte, one of the great figures of Zaragoza teaching for being “the only person in his time with innovative training and practices”, and Eulogia Laguente, who received the Zaragoza gold medal in 1914 for being a teacher exemplary, year in which it was also decorated with the distinction of Alfonso XII. Aurora Miret, teacher and one of the first councilors of the Huesca City Council or Ana Mayayo, better known as Doña Anita, who formed the Municipal Board of First Education, from where she promoted the school wardrobe, the canteen and the school colonies, also make up the repertoire of this book.
Teaching was the only study allowed for women
“It is a project that consists of four books commissioned by the City Council’s equality service. This second volume serves as a tribute to the teachers and women who have dedicated themselves to teaching at all educational levels and who marked educational lines throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Actually it is a tribute due to the great social commitment that women have shown throughout their existence, since the future of society has been in their hands, “explains Lasala.
She says that the legacy of these women was very important, since they developed their activity in a context in which women still receive an education oriented to domestic tasks with the aim of becoming good mothers, wives and caregivers of the home. “Female training began to be seen as a path to independence. A woman who wanted to study was a rare bird, but teaching was the only study that was allowed to them, since it was a kind of prolongation of female tasks. Of course, because this is the only function that allows them to study, the most passionate and restless intellectually dedicated themselves, this concentrated in female teaching a type of woman that served to create new guidelines for female independence “, relates Lasala.
At first, female teaching was considered an extension of housework, “but for many women it really gave them social respect for their environment and access to forums where they could make themselves heard. Another thing to be grateful for is that they understood education as the engine of progress. No social movement has been able to do without female education, which has been the true engine of change for women in society. ”
The sources for this book are “innumerable” and Lasala ensures that he has included all the stories that space has allowed him. He also adds that “he would also like to have that story of the peoples of Aragon that could collect the history of their rural teachers. Knowing the life of the teachers is really knowing the true history of Aragon, since you can see how they lived, how they came to transfers, their relationship with the community or their involvement with the society of the moment “.
Legacies of Aragonese women
The project began last April with the publication of the first volume focused on Aragonese writers and journalists, and now continues with a second part that reviews the biography of more than 250 teachers who carried out their work in Aragon throughout the 19th century. and XX. This publication, like the previous one, is completed with a traveling exhibition and with educational and interactive material that is available on the municipal website for dissemination.
It will be completed with two more publications that will be published in 2022. The first will rescue the biography of women scientists around the Day of Women and Girls in Science, on February 11, and the second will do so with composers, interpreters and singers of jota. It is planned to expand the project beyond 2022 with painters, actresses, businesswomen and athletes.