History ETDs

Publication Date



The Mexican Revolution produced far-reaching changes in the lives of women. Spurred by advances in industrialization which provided a host of new jobs and by the activities of feminists in the United States and Europe, Mexican women demanded full participation in national affairs. During the Revolution, they assumed new responsibilities, traveled to other parts of the Republic and acquired a sense of nationalism. Unfortunately, women revolutionaries did not receive proper recognition for their sacrifices. After participating in the fighting, plans and attempts to implement the goals of the Revolution, women were not rewarded for their efforts nor were they granted political equality as promised by revolutionary ideology. A few received pensions and commissions with rank, but most lived in poverty and died in obscurity.

The Revolution positively affected the women's rights movement because it provided women an opportunity to prove their capabilities. However, after the violent phase, they were denied suffrage in the 1917 Constitution and several times after. Constitutional rights for working women were rarely implemented. Moreover, little effort was expended to alter traditional attitudes towards women's place in society. Women's inability to become full-fledged citizens stemmed from other crises preempting attention, from their support for the Catholic Church in its struggle for autonomy from the Mexican government, from their position as pawns in the internecine war between conservatives and radicals over the Revolution's direction and from the unwillingness of Mexican males to consider them as political equals. Between 1915 and 1924 Yucatan had the distinction of being the most progressive state in Mexico, especially with regard to women's issues. It was the site of the first two national Feminist Congresses and the scene of very active feminine participation. However, after the assassination of the socialist governor in 1924, social progress was halted and the focus of attention shifted back to Mexico City.

In spite of their failure to achieve political equality, women did gain experience in working together and knowledge of the value of self-organization. A few educated women assumed prominent positions in government and in the universities and by the end of the revolutionary period, leaders in the Partido Revolucionario Mexicano (PRM), sensing women's political potential, acted to incorporate them into Mexican politics and society. The seminal role women played in the Mexican Revolution and in shaping the direction of Mexico's future is illuminated by focusing on the lives of women who achieved prominence at different periods of the Revolution.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Edwin Lieuwen

Second Committee Member

Peter J. Bakewell

Third Committee Member

Jane Slaughter



Document Type


Included in

History Commons