A few weeks ago, journalist Tamara Montero published an article about Galician women in science where she mentioned the work of Xoana Pintos, who wrote her doctoral thesis at the University of Santiago de Compostela about “Women in Experimental Studies at the University of Santiago: 1910-1960.” Through her thesis, I discovered a Galicia I had not previously known, one of the pioneers in the world of scientific investigation. Through María Solar’s novel, “The Children of Smallpox,” I entered the universe of the 22 Galician children who, historically, carried the smallpox vaccine to the Americas with the Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition in 1803. These children—22 orphans from A Coruña—were left in the care of Isabel Zendal, a woman recognized by the World Health Organization as the first nurse in history to take part in an international mission.
The historical memory of women’s contribution to society is a pending subject for all of us because it implies revising and rewriting an important part of our idiosyncrasy. Many are the organizations in Galicia that are recovering the history of our world from a feminine perspective, and many are the theses and articles published in multiple disciplines on the subject. The journal A Saia (The Skirt) and the Galician Cultural Council Commission on Equality make it possible to have access to many of them.
To closely follow the research on the stories of women invisible in the world of music, literature, and plastic arts is one of my daily goals. The viral relay of stories such as photojournalist Gerda Taro’s (Robert Capa) or the Sinsombrero (the women from the Generation of ’27) are small great steps to rediscover what the system concealed. As Manuel Rivas wrote for El País: “machismo is the system.”