MEXICO CITY – Educator and writer Griselda Alvarez Ponce de Leon, who 30 years ago became the first woman to govern a Mexican state, has died, family members told Efe. She was 95.
According to her son Miguel Delgado, Alvarez died at home Thursday in Mexico City after being bedridden for a number of infirmities associated with her advanced age.
“She was the first woman who had access to a position of real power in the Colima government,” Delgado said of his mother’s professional career.
Alvarez was elected governor of the small southwestern state in 1979, running on the joint ticket of the Institutional Revolutionary Party – or PRI, which held power at the national level for 71 years – and the Popular Socialist Party.
His mother’s success, Delgado said, “made it easier for other women to gain access through what at first was considered no more than an experiment in a country with a high degree of machismo.”
After obtaining her teaching credentials, Alvarez went to live in Mexico City, where she found work in an orphanage and met her future husband.
She later took a degree in Spanish literature at the Autonomous National University of Mexico.
She held senior posts in the federal health ministry and social security administration before entering politics in 1976 as a senator, going on to serve as Colima’s governor from 1979-1985.
She established several organizations to promote women’s rights and the wellbeing of Mexican families.
Alvarez was also a published novelist and poet. EFE