Google Doodle celebrates Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, one of the women who fought for Filipina’s right to vote

Published March 4, 2021, 7:14 AM

by John Legaspi

Here are the things you need to know about the Filipina suffragette

Screen capture from Google

Your Google search window looks a little different today as it exudes girl power, particularly, Filipina power. Today, Google Doodle celebrates the 142nd birth anniversary of Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, the woman Filipinas have to thank for getting their right to vote. 

Google Doodle’s design features an illustration of Rosa wearing a traditional Filipiñiana dropping her vote on a ballot box with arms of other Filipinas from different eras doing the same act. 

Rosa’s contributions have, without a doubt, done great things for many generations of Filipinas and for the coming ones. But why is it that many of us aren’t familiar with her work, let alone her name? 

Well, it is not too late to know her. So in celebration of Women’s Month, we’ve gathered some information to get you acquainted with Rosa and let you know what a feminist and revolutionary she was.

Rosa’s world was full of politics and art

On March 4, 1879, Rosa was born in Tondo, Manila to her parents, Spanish army sergeant Ambrosio Sevilla and Silvina Tolentino y Rafael. Her mother was related to Aurelio Tolentino, a playwright and revolutionary, whose works depicted a desire to see the Philippines free from its colonizers. She went on to marry artist Emilio Alvero.

Rosa was an accomplished educator

Rosa graduated “maestra superior” at Assumption Superior Normal School. She went on to be the first Dean of Women at the University of Santo Tomas. According to Assumption, at age 21, she established the Instituto de Mujeres (Women’s Institution) of Manila, the first lay-administered Catholic School for women in the Philippines, which is now known as Rosa Sevilla Memorial School. 

Rosa helped nurse war casualties 

A story by Nurseslabs states that during the Philippine-American War, she converted her house into quarters for Filipino soldiers. 

Rosa was among the many Filipina suffragette

In 1916, she rallied across the country to fight for women’s rights of suffrage. Rosa, together with Pura Kalaw-Villanueva and Pilar Hidalgo-Lim, went from house to house to talk about women’s rights, which resulted in the victory of Filipinas when it came to voting and being elected to political positions. The Suffragist Movement in the Philippines lasted from 1898 to 1937. 

Prior to their win, the 1935 Constitution limited the right of suffrage to male citizens aged 21 and above due to the belief that women voting “would ruin family unity, giving less power to the husband or man of the house in the family.”

Rosa dabbled in literature

As a poet and a writer, she was able to produce literary works such as “La Mejor,” “El Sueno del Poeta,” and “Prisonera de Amor.”

She is also known for being one of the two women editorial staff of Gen. Antonio Luna’s revolutionary newspaper La Independencia. The other female staff member was Florentina Arellano, Rosa’s fellow alumna from Assumption.

Spreading herself more in the field of journalism, she also became the editor for the women’s pages of La Vanguardia. She also founded The Woman’s Outlook, a magazine published by the National Federation of Woman’s Clubs of the Philippines, before she passed away on May 11, 1957 at the age of 75.

Get to know more of Rosa Sevilla de Alvero Google Doodle below.