Zoila Ugarte de Landívar

Zoila Ugarte de Landívar

Zoila Ugarte de Landívar, also known by her pseudonym Zarelia (El Guabo, June 27, 1864 – Quito, November 16, 1969) was an Ecuadorian writer, journalist, librarian, sculpturist, educator, suffragist, and feminist. She was the first female journalist in Ecuador. Together with Hipatia Cárdenas de Bustamante, she was a key defender of women’s suffrage in Ecuador. As an early figure in the realm of female Ecuadorian journalists, her career began in the late 1880s. She began to use the journalistic pseudonym Zarelia in the weekly publication Tesoro del Hogar. In 1905 she founded La Mujer, the country’s first women’s magazine. As a teacher, Ugarte taught at various schools in Quito including the Liceo Fernández Madrid girls’ school and the Manuela Cañizares school. She also became the first female editor-in-chief of the political newspaper La Prensa in 1911. She served as president of Quito’s Press Circle.

Personal life

Ugarte was born in 1864 in El Guabo, Ecuador, to Juan de Dios Ugarte Benavides and Juana Seas Pérez. She was the fifth of 11 siblings. In 1893, she married the colonel Julio Landívar, with whom she had her only son, Jorge Landívar Ugarte. He would later become a journalist and forerunner of the old Ecuadorian Socialist Party. After the death of her parents, she moved to Guayaquil, where she became a supporter of the liberal cause and began working as a journalist in the late 1880s. She began to use the pseudonym Zarelia in the weekly Tesoro del Hogar, founded by Lastenia Larriva de Llona (wife of Numa Pompilio Llona), which was published between 1887 and 1893.


  • Ugarte received a medal of honor from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1937.
  • Her journalistic work was also honored by the Zoila Ugarte Committee, overseen by the journalist Tulio Henriquez Cestaris in Guayaquil, which compiled an autograph album full of words of appreciation and recognition from her intellectual contemporaries.
  • She was also honored by the Press Circle in 1966.
  • She was designated as an honorary member of the newspaper El Tipógrafo in 1905.
  • Ugarte represented Ecuador at the international feminist organization of the Committee of the Americas and at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in the 1940s.


After the death of her son Jorge Landívar in 1962, she moved into a nursing home in Quito. She died in Quito on November 16, 1969, at nearly 105 years old.

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