Today we talk about Clara Campoamor. A Spanish politician and lawyer that led the campaign for the universal suffrage in Spain. Our Spanish school el Rincón del Tándem provides you with an overview of her main achievements in the fight for women’s rights. ?
To celebrate women’s contribution to the progress of our society, all classrooms of our Spanish school are dedicated to inspiring women from Hispanic countries.
One of them has been named after Clara Campoamor.
Let’s learn about her history ?
Clara Campoamor (Madrid, 1888 – Lausana, 1972) was a politician, writer and lawyer who played a fundamental role in the recognition of women’s right to vote in the Spanish Second Republic.
Since she was little and after the death of her father, she had been living in difficult times. In fact, she started working when she was only ten years old and since then she had been doing different jobs.
At the age of 26, she began to work as a typing teacher, joined the intellectual circles of Madrid, and took interest in feminism, by getting in touch with some spokespeople of the movement, like the suffragette Carmen de Burgos.
In 1924, she graduated in Law and was the second woman after Victoria Kent to join the Association of Lawyers of Madrid. Besides her profession, she was actively involved in promoting women’s rights and political freedom by lecturing, publishing articles, and collaborating with feminist associations.
She got into politics by joining the Radical party, led by Alejandro Lerroux, and was elected deputy in the Second Republic in 1931. At that time, there were only three women deputies in the Spanish Parliament and Clara Campoamor was one of them.
In November of the same year, she founded the Female Republican Union. An organization aimed at promoting the campaign for women’s suffrage and teaching women how the exercise their civic rights through educational activities and political debates.
As a member of Parliament, Clara Campoamor finally had the chance to raise the issue of female suffrage at institutional and legislative field.
The speech she gave at the Parliament session on October 1, 1931, defending the right to vote for women, is well known. In her speech, she exhorted the deputies not to make “the historical mistake of leaving women on the sidelines” by building a “democracy without half the citizenship.”
Despite opposition from her colleagues from the Radical party, Clara Campoamor managed to win this battle. In fact, The Constitution of 1931 recognized the women’s right to vote, for the very first time in the Spanish history.
In any case, it is important to remember that her commitment to gender equality was much broader and more complex. Although she has gone down in history for her fight for universal suffrage in Spain, her commitment to equality encompasses other issues. Among them, the abolition of prostitution, the divorce, the equality of sons and daughters born out of wedlock and the abolition of the crime of female adultery.
Campoamor’s political experience was full of disappointment and disenchantment; members of her own party turned out to be reluctant to real changes for equality. She did not even have the support of colleagues like Victoria Kent, when voting for women’s suffrage.
In fact, her staunch defense of equality ideas cost her political career so much that she was not re-elected in the political elections of 1933.
When the Civil War broke out, Clara Campoamor was forced to go into exile. She went to Paris and then moved to Buenos Aires where she lived for more than a decade working as a biographer and translator.
Campoamor was never able to return to Spain since, in the Franco era, she would have had to face a 12-year sentence for being a republican, feminist and a freemason.
In 1955 she moved to Switzerland where she worked as a lawyer and died in 1972.
Among Clara Campoamor’s works, we recall fundamental writings such as El voto femenino y yo: mi pecado mortal (1935) and La revolución española vista por una republicana (1937).
Finally, if you want to know more about her history, we recommend the movie Clara Campoamor, la mujer olvidada by Laura Mañá.
We hope this short article on Clara Campoamor encourages you to read more about outstanding women of the Spanish history.
As usual, our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem in Valencia, encourages you to improve your Spanish by reading about the cultures and history of the Spanish-speaking countries. ?