Spanish suffragism: Clara Campoamor.
By Isidoro Laso
Born in Madrid in 1888, this outstanding woman posses the honor to have been the key in order to get the women vote right in the II Republic.
Her value is even higher if we take into that she had a story full of overcoming many obstacles and played a crucial role in drafting of the Spanish Constitution of 1931.
But she had to start working at age 13, as a seamstress, so she wasn’t able to study then. The reason was due to her father’s death. Despite this circumstance, she tried to keep studying and, when she was 32, she started High School studies. She worked as French translator, as a typist for the government and other jobs related to Public Service until 1924. This year she got her degree in Law in the University of Madrid, at 36 years old, and she began working as advocate in the court. She immediately showed great performance in her job, proving a huge talent and intelligence.
She got improvements to the child labour laws in 1927. In 1931 she stood for a seat in the Constituent Assembly that would write a new Constitution for the new republic. Besides this, she became a co-founder of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, founded in 1928 in Paris.
She followed a guideline in their argumentation facing the opposition of many of her male parliamentarians colleges refusing women the right of voting: “Exclusion of women from voting is a violation of natural law”, she said, in the sense that it was not possible to justify that only men could pass laws without women while women had to accept passively the consequences of this “masculine shape” laws in their lives. Clara Campoamor was convinced that only the women vote would be able to give an effective empowering to women, finishing with paternalism or merely the negligence of men.
In the end, Spanish women could firs vote in 1933. In 1934 She was appointed Director of Public Welfare.
But she had to flee the country and settled in Laussane due to the Civil War in 1936. He wasn’t able to return to Spain after the war and died in 1972 in exile. Her ashes were repatriated and now are buried in San Sebastián.