Key events in the history of Peruvian women, relegated from the front pages between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, now occupy a place on one hundred newspaper front pages of the illustrated press. A visual anthropologist and a pedagogue have recreated the design of the time to simulate important news that went unnoticed at the time. The Archive of Peruvian Women is available from Monday on the internet and later it will be shown in a physical exhibition.
The collection is part of a larger project called Imposter files for the recovery of the memory and history of Peruvian women. The visual anthropologist and curator, Karen Bernedo, explains that they intend to fill the void that existed at the end of the XIX and the first half of the last century in relation to the press and women, and “generate another imaginary”.
The project managers themselves call the digital archive an imposter because the names of the publications never existed. “The only thing that is real are the events to which we have made their cover because we consider them to be important. We wanted to use names that allude to gender, that is why they are called La vocera, La tribuna emancipada, La politica, Las Ilustradas ”, explains the curator.
The events rescued on the covers refer to the prominence of women in education, labor rights, culture, politics, military life, sports, feminism, trade unionism, among others. Bernedo highlights, among the hundred, some milestones that later open the way to other achievements, such as that of the first young woman to enter a university. “Among the university students is María Trinidad Enriquez, who fights against a regulatory and legal system until they finally give her permission for only her to attend university,” she says.
The front page headline of July 13, 1875, of the newspaper La Nueva Opinion says: “Miss Cusco is admitted to jurisprudence studies at the San Antonio Abad University of Cusco.” After Enriquez, the curator adds, they follow the first doctor, the first professor, the first archaeologist Rebeca Carrión (1924), who are part of other covers.
The researcher and person in charge of the project was also struck by the fact that the press of the time had not reported on the Cusco-born writer Clorinda Matto, despite the fact that she was known – as anticlerical – at the end of the 19th century. “I saw a painting of a group of people waiting to burn their books, but the burning of the books (in 1891) and their house never made the news,” he says.
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Other front pages are dedicated to the visit to Peru of the American suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt in March 1923, the creation of the National Council of Women in Action -which sought the approval of the suffrage-, and finally the female vote in 1956. They also highlight the first women to exercise public and political functions, such as the first mayor of Peru, Dora Madueño in 1945 in the province of Huancané (in the border region with Bolivia, Puno).
Other social milestones chosen are the formation of the first national women’s college, the first time that women do physical education -when female sports activity was frowned upon-, and the inauguration of the first kindergarten. “This is the first time that boys and girls are seen as subjects for those who organize a curriculum aimed exclusively at them,” he notes. Bernedo points out that the only front page about a woman that they found was that of the first medal that Peru obtained in the Pan American Games, with the sprinter Julia Sánchez Deza in 1951.
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