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Close Up Rosa Sevilla de Alvero: 5 Facts To Know About March 4 2021's Google Doodle

Rosa Sevilla de Alvero: 5 Facts To Know About March 4 2021's Google Doodle

Rosa Sevilla de Alvero: 5 Facts To Know About March 4 2021's Google Doodle
Photo: Unsplash
By Ryanne Co
By Ryanne Co
March 04, 2021
Today's Google Doodle celebrates a powerful Filipina on her 142nd birth anniversary. Meet Rosa Sevilla de Alvero! Here are 5 facts about her:

1/5 Her childhood had a likely effect on her advocacy

Rosa Sevilla de Alvero was born in Tondo, Manila on 4 March 1879. She grew up with her aunt, a notable educator who often brought Filipino patriots and intellectuals into her home. Often, Sevilla de Alvero would eavesdrop on their conversations, which revolved around battling "educational colonialism". It was no surprise then that she would later go on to do just that. 

2/5 She campaigned for women's suffrage

If you've seen today's Google Doodle, then you'll know that Sevilla de Alvero is mainly credited for her contributions toward's women's suffrage. Her image, which shows her placing her ballot in a box, is more or less a literal depiction of one of her achievements. 

In the 1935 Constitution, only male Filipino citizens aged 21 or older had the right to vote. But thanks to Rosa Sevilla de Alvero's contributions, the way towards the 1937 women's suffrage plebiscite was paved. Here, 500,000 Filipinas gathered to vote on their right to suffrage. Out of these, an overwhelming 447,725 chose in favour of it; and hence was born Commonwealth Act No. 34 which officially gave women in the country a right to be heard. 

3/5 She founded the Instituto de Mujeres of Manila at just 21

An intellectual through and through, Sevilla de Alvaro founded the first lay Catholic school for women in the Philippines at just 21! Together with her team, Sevilla de Alvaro created a curriculum that would "prepare women to serve both God and country" under the American occupation. While the American government had founded schools for Filipinos, most of them were taught by Protestant teachers, forbade the teaching of religion, and excluded Spanish and other indigenous languages in the curriculum (which made it difficult for people who didn't speak English at the time). In contrast, the program at the Instituto de Mujeres was more inclusive and taught its students about the history of the country, as well as practical domestic skills needed at the time. 

Read also: International Women's Month: 11 Filipino Women Who Made History

4/5 She was an accomplished writer

Unsurprisingly, Sevilla de Alvaro was an accomplished writer and had published the following works in Spanish: La Mejor, El Sueno del Poeta, and Prisonera de Amor. She was also on the editorial staff of La Independenciathe newspaper published by General Antonio Luna. She was just one of the two female writers on the team. 

5/5 She helped advance our national language

If you've ever participated or watched a balagtasan (debate done in poetic verse) at school growing up, then you can understand how deeply moving and beautiful the Tagalog language is. With Sevilla de Alvaro's verbal prowess, it was no surprise to discover that she was among the first—along with other Filipino poets—to present a balagtasan in public. This helped spark a movement for Tagalog to become the basis of Filipino, the Philippines' national language. 

Read also: 10 Business Women Shaping The Philippines


Close Up International Women's Month


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