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Yucatecan women and their role in history

by Yucatan Times
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Who are they? What do they do? How have they transformed Yucatan? These are just some of the questions answered at the exhibition “Ko’olel, transformed the way”, that was inaugurated in the Regional Museum of Anthropology “Palacio Canton“, on Paseo de Montejo, which is a recount of the role of women throughout history, from pre-Hispanic times to the contemporary era, analyzed from an unprecedented perspective, never before done in Yucatan.

The exhibition was inaugurated on Thursday March 8 at 6 pm in the framework of the International Women’s Day, and was attended by the director of the museum, Giovana Jaspersen García, Martha Góngora Sánchez, Secretary General of Government; and the mayor of Mérida, María Fritz Sierra. This exhibition has the support of the State Government and the City Council.

Around 170 pieces integrate the exhibition, starting with pre-Hispanic collection pieces which are part of the Museum’s collection, and historical material, archives, photographs and objects also from private collections.

The director says that the history has always been told from a masculine perspective, but the “Ko’olel“(Maya word for woman) is an exhibition that highlights the importance of women in the Yucatecan society.

The biographies of 90 women who have transformed society are included; from the pre-Hispanic period, there is a series of Ek Balam pieces, jaina figurines and the representation of dignitary Maya women who inherited a lineage to their children.

Numerous photographs, contributed by the Pedro Guerra Photo Library, also make up the exhibition, as well as the first book written by a woman in Yucatan dating from 1830, and the letters that Rita Cetina wrote to her best friend at the age of 12, also part of a private collection.

Giovana Jaspersen points out that the story could be very different depending on who is telling it, and in this exhibition the story of Yucatan is told through a series of female characters.

María Fritz highlights the role that women play today in the local political scene, resulting in a great responsibility, and she said that this would not be possible if other women before them had not transformed society the way they did.

The mayor recognizes the labor of prominent Yucatecan women such as Elvia Carrillo, Felipa Poot and Raquel Dzib, among others.

In the same way, Martha Góngora highlights the work that was done in research and the preparation during several months prior to the exhibition, to understand the predominant role of women in the social, political, artistic and academic life of the state of Yucatan.


The exhibition known as “Ko’olel, transformed the way” handles several thematic axes such as:

  • Mayan women in front
  • The power of ideas
  • Freedom and rights and Transforming and building

These topics narrate the relevant events of each period and highlight the achievements of these outstanding women.


Source: Diario de Yucatán

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