620 delegates participated. It was the first feminist congress in Mexico and the second in Latin America.

The congress made important contributions to the Civil Code and influenced the Law of Family Relations enacted by Venustiano Carranza on April 9, 1917:

1. The concept of legal equality between women and men and the emancipation of women at 21 years of age.

2. Allowing for ‘absolute’ divorce.

3. Opening the possibility for women to work in public administration and in education, therefore promoting higher education.

The topics discussed at the congress focused on four issues:

1. The best ways to free women from the yoke of tradition

2. The role of primary schools in preparing women for life

3. The skills and occupations the State should support to prepare Mexican women for “an intense life of progress.”

4. The public posts that women could and should occupy to be leaders of society.

Most of those at the conference were teachers, because teaching was the only legitimate area of study to which women had access and, therefore, was almost the only paid work permitted by society.

At that time, positivist, socialist and revolutionary ideals coexisted with nineteenth-century conservative concepts. However, the exchange of views and visions, often conflicting, planted some avant-garde ideas amongst the women who attended the congress, which had been planned since 1915 and advertised as:

"To create free and strong generations, women must attain a legal status that elevates them."

Referring to the congress, Jesús Silva Herzog said "the conclusions reached by the Yucatecan women show the leftist progressive spirit that prevailed in revolutionary society there. Yucatan was unquestionably the most advanced Mexican state in social matters." The first three women elected as local deputies in Mexico were elected in Yucatan: Elvia Carrillo Puerto, Beatriz Peniche Barrera and Raquel Dzib Cícero. [1]


Cortina G. Quijano, Aurora.- "The Feminist Congresses of Yucatan in 1916 and their influence on local and federal legislation."

"Feminism in Mexico: Background," FEM magazine, Volume VIII, No.20, October-November 1983.

[1] "100th anniversary of the first Feminist Congress:To legislate and judge with a gender perspective must now be a priority," Carla A. Humphrey Jordan