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Google Honors Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, the Filipino Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote

Rosa Sevilla de Alvero was a suffragist who played a vital role in pushing forward gender equality
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This Women’s Month, Google is celebrating the life of the Filipino who fought for women’s right to vote—Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, a suffragist who played a vital role in pushing forward gender equality.

Today, March 4, is De Alvero’s 142nd birth anniversary, and Google saw fit to honor her legacy by making her the Google Doodle of the day on Google Philippines. If you visit Google right now, an image of De Alvero submitting a voting ballot will greet you.

Who Is Rosa Sevilla de Alvaro?

Born on March 4, 1879, De Alvero was born in Tondo to a well-to-do family. Her father was Ambrosia Sevilla, a Spanish army sergeant, and her mother was Silvina Tolentino y Rafael, a relative of the revolutionary Aurelio Tolentino. Growing up, De Alvaro was influenced by her aunt, an educated woman who invited Filipino patriots and intellectuals to her home. The young girl would eavesdrop on their conversations and become influenced by their revolutionary beliefs.

At only 21 years old, she founded one of the first schools for women in the Philippines—Instituto de Mujeres, now known as Rosa Sevilla Memorial School. It served as a place of progressive thinking, encouraging women to take up suffrage, vocations, and the Tagalog language. A champion of Tagalog in Spanish-era Philippines, De Alvaro was part of the first-ever balagtasan, which launched the movement to install Tagalog as our national language.

In her later years, Rosa founded Liga Nacional de Damas Filipinas, which fought for women’s right to vote. She was one of the many women who paved the way for the 1937 suffrage plebiscite, in which women won the right to vote by a landslide.

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Today, celebrate the underrated heroism of Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, whose actions led to legal protections and freedoms for Filipino women around the nation.

 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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