Coni, Gabriela Laperrière de (1866–1907)

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Coni, Gabriela Laperrière de (1866–1907)

Gabriela Laperrière de Coni (b. 1866; d. January 1907), Argentine feminist and health-care activist. The public career of Gabriela Laperrière de Coni was intense but brief. Little is known about her early life except that she was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1866 and published a novel about a woman's efforts to help sick children. In her career, fiction mirrored reality. Once Laperrière became active in Argentina, she campaigned as a feminist socialist for improved working and health conditions for poor families. Her marriage in 1899 to Dr. Emilio R. Coni, a noted public-health physician, reinforced her commitment to health issues. One manifestation of this concern was the extensive lectures she gave about the dangers of tuberculosis.

Laperrière's Argentine career began in 1900, when she served as the press secretary for the Argentine National Council of Women. Two years later she was appointed Buenos Aires's first factory inspector by the city's mayor, Adolfo Bullrich. Her research led in April 1902 to recommend that legislation to protect workers be enacted. Such a law was enacted by the Argentine Congress in 1907.

A popular speaker on public-health issues, Laperrière also helped found the Centro Socialista Femenino (Socialist Women's Feminist Center). In one of her last public appearances she helped mediate a dispute between factory owners and working women in a shoe factory. Her death in January 1907 terminated her brief career, but her concerns about health and working conditions were implemented by others.

See alsoFeminism and Feminist Organizations .


Enrique Dickmann, Recuerdos de un militante socialista (1949).

Donna J. Guy, "Emilio and Gabriela Coni: Reformers, Public Health, and Working Women," in The Human Tradition in Latin America: The Nineteenth Century, edited by Judith Ewell and William H. Beezley (1989), pp. 233-248.

Additional Bibliography

Armus, Diego. The Years of Tuberculosis: Buenos Aires 1870–1950. Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1996.

Guy, Donna J. White Slavery and Mothers Alive and Dead: The Troubled Meeting of Sex, Gender, Public Health, and Progress in Latin America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

                                        Donna J. Guy