Today’s Doodle honours Adelaide Cabete, a Portuguese feminist, humanitarian, physician, and activist who persistently battled for women’s rights and equality during the twentieth century. She also founded and served as president of the Conselho Nacional das Mulheres Portuguesas (National Council of Portuguese Women).
Cabete was born on January 25, 1867, in the vicinity of Elvas, Portugal. She worked as a housemaid as a youngster to help her family survive. Despite not having time to attend school, she taught herself to read and write. She graduated from high school with honours when she was 23. She subsequently went on to study medicine at the Medical-Surgical School in Lisbon, where she graduated at the age of 33, becoming just the third Portuguese woman to do so! Her thesis campaigned for pregnant women’s rights and maternity leave in Portugal.
In 1909, she created the Republican League of Portuguese Women, and in 1914, she founded the National Council of Portuguese Women (CNMP), both of which benefited poor women and children and pushed for women’s independence. Cabete also taught other women how to take care of children and keep themselves clean, and she spoke out in favour of maternity facilities.
She was the principal editor of the CNMP’s Alma feminina newsletter and produced numerous pieces regarding women’s social and medical equality. In 1924 and 1928, she helped organise the first two feminist conferences in Portugal, which advocated for women’s political, social, educational, and economic rights.
She vigorously battled for women’s suffrage throughout her life, laying the foundation for subsequent feminist movements. Cabete is without a doubt one of the most influential people in Portuguese society, recognised for her courageous leadership.