Concytec highlights science pioneers in Peru, on International Women’s Day
The National Council for Science, Technology and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC) celebrates International Women’s Day on 8 March every year, highlighting the story of 7 Peruvian women who fought for equal opportunity and achieved fame in the field of science.
Maria Trinidad Enriquez, of Cusco, was the first woman who was able to enter the University of San Antonio Abad in Cusco in 1875. She stood out for her intellectual intelligence at a young age, however, it was difficult for her to get into it. It took several months of paperwork to be accepted. Finally, he was able to complete his degree, although it is not clear if he earned a bachelor’s degree.
Margarita Praxides Muñoz became the first woman to enter the University of San Marcos Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM), America’s dean. His stay was not easy because his mere presence caused the teachers and authorities to be confused. The question of the day was what women do in college, they didn’t know what to do or how to behave, they didn’t have laws to refuse to be in college and they didn’t accept her to be on the level of others.
However, in 1890 he managed to support his thesis titled “The Unity of Matter or the Essential Identity of the Inorganic and Organic Kingdoms” dealing with the unity of matter from the chemical point of view in the Faculty of Science, thus becoming the first woman to obtain a bachelor’s degree in our country. Her troubled mind wanted to continue her medical studies, but the environment she found was not very favorable, rather she became hostile due to her status as a woman.
Faced with this, he chose to continue Galenic’s studies in Chile, a country in which equality between men and women had already been achieved for admission to university. When she finished, she moved to Argentina and although there are few sources documenting her work, one Argentine publication states that Margarita is one of five women who practiced medicine in that country during the nineteenth century.
On the other hand, there is Laura Esther Rodríguez Dulanto, who was the second woman to enter UNMSM and has done so with an excellent rating. Her academic performance was excellent as she was not only able to obtain a bachelor’s degree, but also continued her studies for a doctorate of science, becoming the first Peruvian to obtain a doctorate in 1898.
Not satisfied with it, she was able to attend medical school despite the restrictions and discrimination she faced for being a woman. For example, she was asked to stand behind a curtain while practicing anatomy, and only when she showed excellent grades was she allowed to dissect in private, not in association with a class. Finally, against all odds, she received the title of medical surgeon, which was awarded to a woman for the first time.
Another success story is that of Lucia Pozzi-Escott, a chemist from San Marco. On her return from the United States where she obtained her MA and PhD degrees in Chemistry and incorporated as a professor at the National University of Engineering (UNI), she was the main promoter of the establishment of the School of Chemistry at said House of Studies.
Along the same lines, there is the chemical engineer Olga Lock, recognized as one of the greatest promoters of chemical sciences in our country. She has been a researcher and trainer for many generations of chemists and a promoter of scientific outreach and publication events. His main line of research is phytochemistry, that is, the study of chemicals in plants.
Maria Luisa Aguilar was a UNMSM mathematician who traveled to Argentina to fulfill her desire to study and work in a profession that would give her freedom: astronomy. She was the first Peruvian astronomer and her extensive work raised the name of Peru several times, for example, she discovered a star containing the largest amount of phosphorous discovered to that date.
Finally, there is the seventh Peruvian woman, biologist Magdalena Pavlich, founding professor at the University of Peruana Caetano Heredia where she is known as the “Lady Orchid” as she has dedicated herself to the study of these plants as well, of fungi and lichens.