Saturday, 28 December 2013
Women Warriors - the Soldaderas
In 1910, a revolution began in Mexico against the Diaz regime. About the only name I was familiar with before I started looking into it was Pancho Villa, and I didn't know a lot about him.
In England, women were chaining themselves to railings to get the vote; in Mexico, they were joining the revolutionary army and fighting for a better future.
Mostly, women with the revolutionaries seem to have had the role that women have always had in warfare - they were camp followers. But there were also women who disguised themselves as men to fight, and later women who openly fought as women. They were also used as spies and messengers.
Jim and Carol's Mexican Adventure, at http://cookjmex.blogspot.co.uk/ has an excellent and very detailed post on the Soldaderas, and comments:
"Although generals on all sides eventually accepted the help of soldaderas in battle, they often tried to hide or minimize the important role the women played. But history shows the women everywhere, as simple soldiers, as commanders of all-female combat units, even commanding male units."
After the war was over, the women's units were disbanded, and many were denied the pensions they had been promised. The role of women in the struggle was minimised and glossed over - but they were there.