Carolina, first Portuguese Suffragette

This Friday marks 110 years of the first Suffrage in Portugal to count on female participation, a suffragette medical mark born in Guarda, Carolina Beatriz Ângelo.
Thank you, Google, for marking the date with an illustration in your famous doodle – the image that appears on the search page.
To justify this celebration of Carolina Beatriz Ângelo, Google highlights “the life dedicated to the fight for the equal treatment of women and children to men”.

Carolina Beatriz Ângelo was born in 1878. She graduated in Medicine in 1902 and obtained a specialization degree in Gynecology ten years later. She was the first female surgeon in Portugal and the first woman to perform surgeries at the St. Joseph Hospital in Lisbon.

Photograph of the Medical-Surgical Course Gala 1899-1902. To the right of
Carolina, the only woman is Fernando Matos Chaves, in the upper right corner, Jorge Marçal da
Silva, to the right of this, is Senna Pereira. Dr. Jorge’s photographic archive
Marçal da Silva. Photograph from Dr. Manuel Mendes Silva archive.

In 1906, she embraced pacifism by adhering to the Portuguese Committee of the French association La Paix et le Désarmement par Les Femmes.

In 1907, she integrated the Humanity Store, of which she was Venerable. Additionally, she also took part in the formation of the Portuguese Group of Feminist Studies (1907 – 1908), partnered with the Republican League of Portuguese Women (1908 – 1911) and, in 1911, highlighting her suffragism, she created, with Ana de Castro Osório, the Association of Feminist Propaganda.

A devoted feminist and suffragist, Ângelo was involved in one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the Women’s Vote in Portugal – she was the first woman able to vote in the Country on the 28th of May of 1911. She had found a loophole in Portuguese law that enabled her to cast her vote in that year’s Constituent Assembly elections.

Portuguese Republicans and Suffragettes

The year before, she had conspired for the Republic, having stitched, with her friend and colleague Adelaide Cabete, the hoisted flags during the revolution took place on the 5th of October. With the subsequent implantation of the Republic in Portugal, she became a fighter undaunted for Women’s Suffrage, albeit directed at a minority.

Poster for the play “O Livre Pensamento” about Carolina’s life and work

Carolina Beatriz Ângelo died prematurely, at the age of 33, having fallen victim to a flu epidemic that ravaged Lisbon in the summer of 1911. She was a widow and left an 8-year-old daughter.

Thank you. Até já!


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