Raquel Rodas Morales (Paute, Azuay, June 1940-Quito, November 1, 2018) was an Ecuadorian writer, historian, and feminist. She dedicated her life to teaching, studying philosophy, and conducting research from a feminist perspective on the contributions of influential women in the history of Ecuador, such as Tránsito Amaguaña, Dolores Cacuango, and María Luisa Gómez de la Torre. Raquel Rodas authored numerous books dedicated to women’s history and the feminist movement. Her extensive research and writings have significantly contributed to the understanding of women’s experiences, the impact of patriarchy, and the struggles faced by women throughout history. The Metropolitan Council of Quito awarded her the Mention of Honor for Relevant Services to the City.
Early Life and Education
Raquel Rodas was born in Paute, Azuay, in 1940. From an early age, she had a strong attraction to books and would spend long hours locked in the attic of her house, immersing herself in the world of literature and politics. At the age of 12, she discovered children’s literature in a bookstore and began collecting stories like Snow White, Puss in Boots, and Sinbad the Sailor.
Rodas remained closely connected to literature and serious analysis throughout her life. She considered her first stage of adulthood to be in the field of education. After graduating, she became a teacher in the Turi parish and later became the director of a girls’ school in Baños. She faced numerous obstacles, including opposition from a local priest who was against the idea of a secular school. Despite the challenges, Rodas successfully built the school, often working at night with lanterns to illuminate the construction process.
Political and Intellectual Engagement
Raquel Rodas was actively involved in political and intellectual activities in Ecuador. In the 1970s, she founded the organization “8 de marzo” with several other women. This group later evolved into the Frente Amplio de Mujeres (Broad Front of Women), and Rodas became its first president. She participated in the publication of newspapers such as “Mujeres” and “Cuarto Mundo” and was a member of the Center for Research on Women’s Studies and the National Academy of History.
Rodas played a significant role in advocating for women’s rights and was an influential figure in Ecuadorian feminism. She authored dozens of books dedicated to women, and her work contributed to the advancement of women’s conditions and the recognition of forgotten and marginalized women in history. She also collaborated with the cultural supplement “Cartón Piedra” of a local newspaper.
Feminism and Ideological Perspective
Raquel Rodas was known for her profound understanding of feminism and its various aspects. In one of her articles, she expressed the following perspective: “Feminism constitutes a search for authority for the female experience and word. It has been and continues to be an emancipatory platform for women, seeking freedom to decide about their bodies, freedom to think, create, communicate with others, write with their own voice, disagree, and move through the world without the need for protection or fear. Only a small part of feminism, very late, has aspired to power.”
Rodas engaged in a deep analysis of the origins, forms, and persistence of patriarchy as an all-encompassing system of power. This ongoing debate within feminism has led to an increase in feminist theory and enriched the social sciences. She acknowledged the diversity of feminist perspectives and the multitude of approaches that arise when focusing on specific aspects, giving rise to various forms of feminism.
Legacy and Passing
Raquel Rodas made significant contributions to Ecuadorian feminism and left a lasting legacy. Her work emphasized the importance of recognizing the experiences and contributions of women, challenging dominant narratives, and promoting social justice. She was a numerary member of the National Academy of History and a collaborator with various organizations dedicated to women’s rights.
Raquel Rodas passed away on November 1, 2018. Her ashes were scattered among flowers, fulfilling her final wish. Her life and work continue to inspire intellectuals, educators, and artists, and her dedication to feminism and the pursuit of gender equality remains a powerful influence in Ecuadorian society.
- Las propias y los ajenos (2007)
- Muchas voces, demasiados silencios (2002)
- Maestras que dejaron huellas (2000)
- Historia del voto femenino (2009)
- El color de la lluvia (2012)
- Las escuelas indígenas de Dolores Cacuango (1989)