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Las Soldaderas In The Mexican Revolution

Las Soldaderas was the women fighter who contributed in the war during the Mexican revolution. Use of women as aiders in the war started with the rebel armies and later even the federal armies began to incorporate women in the war probably after realising how they assisted their rivals. The revolution started on 20th November 1910 although the roots of the unrest are traced back in 1876.This was four years after the death of Benito Juarez the then president of Mexico died in 1872. Elections were held in 1876 with Porfirio Diaz winning and succeeding Juarez. Diaz leadership brought great success for Mexico, but it was dictatorial. This created unrest. After an election in 1910, an opponent to President Diaz declared himself the president. Three revolutionary armies formed in 1911 inspired by this declaration.

Role of Las Soldaderas in the revolution

Women played various roles in the war ranging from basic home making roles to being directly involved in the war. They performed basic cleaning, cooking and setting up of camp sites. They also provided emotional support to their husbands by accompanying them to the war. Even the unmarried women would choose to take the course in the war and would give company to the unmarried men in the war. Las soldaderas would also be sent by the soldiers to raid the stores of the rival soldiers and steal the valuables. This was a strategy to paralyse the rival army. They also acted as nurses. They would nurse the wounds of the injured soldiers and even carry them back home on oxen n case of severe injury. Last but not least, they would be used to smuggle commodities such as weapons and medicines from the US to Mexico. It was easy for the women to cross the US- Mexico border because they would not be easily suspected of such acts.

Challenges faced by Las Soldaderas and their Downfall

The Women were exposed to many dangers during the war. Rape by the rival soldiers was a common happening. They would also be killed by these rival soldiers as a strategy to weaken the army by cutting off the support from women. Their contribution came to an end when famine struck the area, and the soldiers were unwilling to give food to women as it was little. It also became difficult for the women to keep up with the pace and mobility of the battalions as the war progressed.

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