Sofia Reyes de Veyra was born in Arevalo, (now part of Iloilo City), Iloilo on September 30, 1876. She was a feminist and academic administrator. She had an active involvement in the Philippine feminist movements which gave birth to social work institutions and women’s clubs.
Sofia Reyes de Veyra was an English teacher in Iloilo and women’s dormitory administrator in Bacolod City and at the Philippine Normal School (now Philippine Normal University) in Manila. She was one of the organizers of the Manila Women’s Club (now the National Federation of Women’s Clubs of the Philippines) which campaigned for women’s rights, especially the right to vote.
She was married to the journalist and politician Jaime de Veyra who then became the Philippine Resident Commissioner to U.S. Congress.
Her lectures and articles in various American women’s organizations and periodicals argued that unlike in the U.S., gender equality is already a norm in precolonial Philippines, and was lost due to colonization. She also asserted to the Americans her confidence in the ability of the Filipinos to govern themselves. She represented the Philippines as a delegate in various women’s rights conventions in the U.S. Upon her return to the Philippines in 1922, she headed the NFWC and continued to lead the campaign for women’s voting rights until it was finally granted in 1937.
Apart from her active role in the feminist movement, she was known for her pioneering efforts in the field of social work. Before her active participation in women’s rights, in 1907, she helped the establishment of one of the first nursing training centers in the Philippines. She also promoted the cause of maternal and children’s health by helping the establishment of the La Proteccion de la Infancia, also known as the Gota de Leche. These credentials helped her to become the Social Secretary of Presidents Manuel Quezon, Sergio Osmena, Manuel Roxas, and Elpidio Quirino. She was serving as Vice-President of the Centro Escolar University in Manila when she died on January 1, 1953, at the age of 76.
Source: Project Vinta
Read also: List of Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Sites
Sofia Reyes de Veyra Monument
On January 10, 2023, the monument of Sofia Reyes de Veyra is unveiled. This is to celebrate her commitment being a zealous advocate of women’s role in development. She was the first President of the National Federation of Women’s Club – Association Feminista Filipina and she has done so much that makes her worthy of emulation. She was also a great health advocate and campaigned for the care for undernourished children through the La Proteccion de la Infancia and served as a member of the governing body of Philippine National Red Cross.
Source: Jerry Treñas
How to Get Here
The following jeepneys are the ones passing by Plaza Villa where the Sofia Reyes de Veyra’s marker and monument are located: