New exhibit shows women’s fight for vote

Women who changed the course of Costa Rican history by successfully fighting for the right to vote are being commemorated with an exhibition at the Archivo Nacional.

Titled “Citizens in movement, the conquest of suffrage (1888-1953),” the historical piece looks back at the figures and circumstances that lead to women first being able to vote at the local level on July 30,1950. Three years later females entered ballots for the national elections for the first time in the country’s history.

In those elections, five female counselors and three legislators became the first publicly elected female leaders. The barrier-breaking legislators, all from Partido Liberación Nacional, were María Teresa Obregón, Ana Rosa Chacón, and Estela Quesada.

The exhibition is organized on three tiers. The presentation shows a historical timeline of events that lead up to those initial votes. Secondly, the display analyzes the feminist battle against the era’s power structure. And the last level there are a series of visual metaphors that further interprets the historic win for women’s rights in Costa Rica.

“Different institutional spaces and symbols are explained through the perspective of these women,” said Raabe Cercone, an art curator at the Universidad de Costa Rica’s museum. “So, too, are the events that permitted them to slowly enter the political realm.”

The university has teamed up with Archivo Nacional and the Centro de Investigación en Identidad y Cultura to host the exhibit. Set in the Sala León Fernández Bonilla del Archivo Nacional, the display will be up until Sept. 12 and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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