Evita Peron

Evita Peron

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Argentina's "dama de la esperanza," Eva Duarte de Peron, remains one of Latin America's most influential, and unforgettable women. From the moment Juan Domingo Peron became president of Argentina, Eva Peron was submerged in politics. "Evita" was Juan Domingo Peron's greatest ally. During her time as first lady of Argentina, she accomplished more for the "descamisados" than any other woman had ever managed to do. She served as his liaison to the working class as well as an activist for the feminist suffrage. Despite the "machista" Argentinean traditions, Eva became a powerful leader to the Argentinean people, breaking away form the conventional role of women, and reinventing herself, from mistress to president's wife.

Eva Duarte de Peron used her new found status to ensure that her husband remained in power as president of Argentina. She formed the Eva Peron Foundation, "a charitable institution that distributed large sums of money to neighborhood groups; financed various women's centers to link impoverished women to vital social, medical, and legal services; and built a large patronage army for Peronism" (KH 332). She called upon all workers to give one day's pay a year to fund the foundation The foundation built hospitals, schools, old age homes, orphanages, and housing projects, to aid the "descamisados" she once identified with (Evita: The Woman Behind the Myth).

The first lady of Argentina felt strongly about women's rights, and after joining with other feminists, she created the Peronist Feminist Party (KH 332). In 1947, Eva helped get Congress to pass a law allowing women the right to vote (Evita). By empowering women, and fighting for their right to vote, Eva secured her husband's position, by drawing in the female voters. During the 1951 elections, "90 percent of registered women, eligible to vote for the first time, went to the polls and some 65 percent cast their votes for Peron" (KH 333).

"Evita" Peron gave the people of Argentina hope for a better life. She assured them they would never be forgotten by the Peronist government, and while she was alive, she ensured it was so. During Juan Domingo Peron's inauguration, she assured the people of Argentina that, "between them and their government, there could be never be a separation, because in this case, in order to divorce himself from his people, the President would have to first divorce his wife" (KH 332).

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Works Cited

Evita: The Woman Behind the Myth. Dir. Deirdre O'Hearn. Narr. Jack Perkins. Videocassette. History Television Network Productions. A & E Biography Series, 1996

Keen, Benjamin, and Keith Haynes. A History of Latin America. Seventh Edition, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

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