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3 Colombian women you must know about

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Every year on March 8th is International Women’s Day, and we wanted to share with you three standout Colombian women from history that you need to know about.

All three risked their lives for their beliefs & freedom.

3 Colombian women you must know about

1. Policarpa Salavarrieta.

Known as 'La Pola', she was a pro-independence spy who operated undercover in the Spanish Royalist dominated Bogotá, creating a revolutionary network. She is considered a heroine of Colombian independence and made it on to the 10,000 peso bill.

Eventually, she was caught & executed. It is said, she turned around to look her enemies in the eyes before being shot. The anniversary of her death on November 14 is commemorated with Day of the Colombian Woman, a national holiday in Colombia.

2. Betsabé Espinal.

Remembered for having led the first strike of female workers in 1920. At the age of 24, Betsabé galvanized 400 female textile workers to demand equal pay and an end to exploitative practices, such as sexual harassment and long workdays. The protest worked, and many of their demands were met. Unknown to many, she managed to also galvanize 110 men to join the strike in support of women.

3. Cacica Gaitana.

'La Gaitana' was an indigenous woman & is the first known woman in Colombia to form a resistance against the Spanish conquistadors. After they killed her son in the town of Timaná in 1539, she formed & led an army of initially 6,000 Indigenous soldiers to attack the Spanish in revenge for her son. Later she would amass more than 10,000 Indigenous soldiers who led a continued armed resistance against the Spanish.


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This blog post was written & published by Intern Colombia on 08 April 2021 & updated on 08 March 2022.


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