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Today in PH History

On September 30, 1876, Sofia Reyes de Veyra, educator, social worker and first secretary and co-founder (with Mary E. Coleman) ofAsociacion Feminista Filipina, was born in Arevalo, Iloilo.

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The Asociacion Feminista Filipinawas the first women’s club in the Philippines. Its establishment in June 1905 marked the start of the Feminist Movement in the country.

Accomplishments of Feminista included:

  • Segregation of women prisoners from men at the Bilibid Prisons, which eventually led to the establishment of the Correctional Institute for Women;
  • Persuaded the government to hire women police matrons for the women detainees;
  • Founded day care centers for working mothers; and
  • Provided legal aid to indigenous women.

High infant mortality in the country moved Sofia de Veyra to establish the society La Proteccion de la Infancia.

She also organized the Manila Women’s Club which later became the nucleus of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs. This federation was in the forefront of the campaign to give women the right to vote and other rights. The women of the Philippines won these rights in 1931.

A prominent educator, De Veyra was co-author of the pre-war public schools book “Character and Conduct”. She was at one time vice president of the Centro Escolar University.

Reyes de Veyra was social secretary of four presidents – Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña Sr., Manuel Roxas and Elpidio Quirino.

In 1907, she married noted journalist Jaime de Veyra, who was then governor of Leyte and later in 1917 appointed Philippine Resident Commissioner to the United States.

She died on January 1, 1953.

Reference: Philippine News Agency archives
Manila Bulletin

Article: Kahimyang Project

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