Alvarado, María Jesús (1878–1971)

views updated

Alvarado, María Jesús (1878–1971)

María Jesús Alvarado Rivera, born in Chincha, Peru, on May 27, 1878, was a sociologist, modernist educator, and feminist writer. In 1912 she published El Feminismo, the first revolutionary essay of the twentieth century in Peru. In 1914 she formed Evolución Femenina, an association for women's progress, with a defiant political stance that demanded changes in society: education for women, access to jobs and professions, civil rights equal to those of men, and, as she put it in El Feminismo, "the political rights to participate directly in the nation's destiny." In her novel Nuevas Cumbres (1923), Alvarado envisions a utopia of men and women living as equals.

Alvarado founded the Moral and Labor School-Workshop, the three pillars of which were culture, work, and citizenship, to prepare poor young prostitutes for the labor market. Her commitment to women and abandoned children and her solidarity with the indigenous people and workers of Peru made her the target of dictator Augusto B. Leguía. Deported by the regime to Argentina in 1924, she lived in exile there until 1937.

Alvarado founded the Ollantay Academy of Dramatic Art, which staged several of her plays: Ante los hijos, El matrimonio ultramoderno, El puñal del abuelo and El imperativo de la sangre (1938), and El tesoro de la Isla and Mártir Olaya (1939). In her novels La Perricholi: Novela histórica dramatizada en treinta jornadas (1946) and Amor y Gloria: El romance de Manuela Sáenz y el Libertador Simón Bolívar (1952), she fashioned historical figures into literary characters. She died in Lima in 1971.

See alsoFeminism and Feminist Organizations; Leguía, Augusto Bernardino; Peru: Peru Since Independence.


Chaney, Elsa M. "Significado de la Obra de María Jesús Alvarado Rivera." Cuadernos Culturales 2 (1988): 1-16.

Mannarelli, María Emma. Limpias y modernas: Género, higiene y cultura en la Lima del novecientos. Lima: Ediciones Flora Tristán, 1999.

                                   Lady Rojas-Benavente

About this article

Alvarado, María Jesús (1878–1971)

Updated About content Print Article