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Carmen Cuesta del Muro

Carmen Cuesta

Was born in Palencia in 1890. She completed her studies with flying colors at the School of Education in Madrid between 1911 and 1913.

She received her doctorate in Law in 1928, being the first woman to ever achieve this academic degree in Spain. She started teaching Pedagogy at the Teachers’ School in Teruel.

She is one of the pioneering women of the Teresian Association who accessed higher education with acute sensitivity to grasp the problems and needs of education and knowledge in Spain as the country opened the doors of the university to women. In 1918 she took a leave of absence from her work to move to Madrid to manage the first University Residence of the Teresian Association. This Residence, for female students, was created in Madrid 1n 1914 and it was the first of its kind.

Carmen Cuesta knew how to integrate her professional commitments and her dedication to the Teresian Association, of which she was a member since her young years. Among her contributions are her participation in the government of said Association, the presidency of the “Asociación de Cooperadoras Técnicas” and her contribution to the expansion of the Work in South America.

Her outstanding personality, her vast knowledge, her especial speaking gifts, the clarity of her mind, her courageousness to face the most difficult problems made her a remarkable political person. Already in 1924, Serrano de Haro had discovered her qualities and invited her, together with speakers like Garcia Morente, Ramiro de Maeztu, Juan Zaragüeta and Eduardo Marquina, to present on the topic “The aggrandizement of the Nations and the Education of its Citizens” as part of a course of the School of Education.

Appointed member of the National Assembly and elected Secretary of the Department of Education and Instruction, she stood out in the defense of the civil rights of women. Her proposals and amendments are published in the minutes of the meetings of the National Assembly of 1927-28.

Well known at the national level for her expert work in the fields of education and social action, in 1926 the Spanish Catholic Action asked her to be part of a group that would travel to America. In Chile she met Adela Edwards, a commendable woman who had founded and directed the Teachers’ School of Saint Teresa. With her she made plans for the presence of the Teresian Association two years later. This trip allows her to develop a very valuable network at the university, diplomatic, and ecclesial levels. For twenty years she worked tirelessly traveling to different Latin American countries –Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico- and organizing a series of meetings, conferences, associations, and groups of women, thus contributing to the development and foundation of Education schools, universities, residences for students, and centers of professional formation.

The Bulletin of the Teresian Association receives her continuous and systematic contribution on topics on the formation of educators, the advancement of women, and socio-political issues using her legal and pedagogical background. Examples of these are nine articles published between 1932 and 1933 in the “BIT” on “women and law” and the creation of the Cabinet of Legal Orientation for Women.

Other national and international publications contain her articles that enrich the CV of this woman who was, by vocation and conviction, an avid learner of the different areas of knowledge and a true intellectual.

Her publications include:

La vida y el obrero (Life and the Worker). Tipografía del Sagrado Corazón. Madrid, 1915.

La sociedad de gananciales (The Society of Earning). Doctoral Thesis. Imprenta Góngora, San Bernardo 85. Madrid. 1930

Ecuación de la Filosofía y la Pedagogía o Conjunción de la Escuela Tradicional y de la Escuela Activa (Equation of Philosophy and Pedagogy or Junction of the Traditional School and the Active School). Santiago de Chile: Editorial Normal Santa Teresa, 1941.

Educación Universitaria Tres etapas de un proyecto inédito (Higher Education. Three Phases of an Unpublished Project). Buenos Aires, 1944.

On her return to Spain in 1953 she resumes her educational work at the Teachers’ School “Nuestra Señora de la Almudena.” There she teaches “Social Formation.”

After her retirement from her academic commitments, she died in a tragic accident, which her contemporaries viewed as a symbol of her life of faith and action, in Madrid in 1968. The preservation of her unpublished work “School and Society. A Sociology for the School” may also be seen as symbolic. This is kept in the Archive of the Teresian Association.{jathumbnail off}

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