Poet, educator and journalist, Edwiges de Sá Pereira was born on 25 October 1884, in Barreiros, Pernambuco, to the lawyer José Bonifácio de Sá Pereira and Maria Amélia Gonçalves da Rocha de Sá Pereira.
She showed herself to be a poet from childhood and began teaching at a very young age. She was an elementary school teacher and professor at the Normal School, teaching Didacticism and Pedagogy. She was the Portuguese Language Preceptor of the Commercial Course at Eucharistic College, Master Teacher of General and Brazilian History at the Institute of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and also superintendent of education for several schools of Recife.
According to Dulce Chacon, one of her students, despite not having a college degree, she had knowledge, specialised and general culture, wholeness of character, prudence, sense of duty, this whole set of qualities and characteristic virtues of her, the Master, the forger of personalities and destinies ...
Besides being an educator, she was a pioneer in the struggle for women’s rights. In the late 19thand early 20th Centuries, she fought for female emancipation, as much through her writings and lecturesas her practical stances. By then, she already wrote texts defending divorce. For her, no woman should be made to live with a man if they couldn’t get along together.
Underher initiative, the Pernambuco Federationfor the Advancement of Women wasfounded, and she was a leader of the campaign forwomen’s voting rights in Brazil.
She participated in the 2nd International Congress Feminist, held in Rio de Janeiro, presenting the thesis ByWomen, For Women, which classified the condition of Brazilian women into three categories: those who do not need to work, those who need and know how to work and those who need and do not know how to work. Shewas devotedto change the situation of the latter group, specifically.
Although being both pioneer and revolutionary, she did not wear modern clothes; she did not smoke and seldom left her home. She used topromote meetings at herhouse with several intellectuals,to discuss literature and the main issues of the time in Recife and in the country.
She was an effective member of Pernambuco AcademyofLetters, becoming the first woman to become immortal in 1920, precedingthe victory of Rachel de Queiroz in the Brazilian Academy of Lettersby almost five decades. She occupied the Chair No. 7 in place of João Batista Regueira Costa. Her inaugural speech,entitled A Past That Does Not Die, was published as a pamphlet.
She worked as a journalist, collaborating with various press institutions from Pernambuco and other states.
She published, among other books, Campesinas (Peasant Women), Horas inúteis (UselessHours), Jóia turca (Turkish Jewel), Eva,Militante (Militant) and A influência da mulher na educação pacifista do após-guerra (The Influence of Women in Pacifist Post-war Education).
Edwiges de Sá Pereira died on 14 August 1958.
Recife, 22 march 2004.
(Updated on 25 august 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2012.
ALVES, Audálio et al. Seleta de autores pernambucanos. Rio de Janeiro: Edições Jornal de Letras; Recife: Secretaria de Educação do Estado de Pernambuco, 1987. p.161-163.
ARAÚJO, Maria de Lourdes de. Edwiges de Sá Pereira. In: MULHERES do Brasil: pensamento e ação. Fortaleza: Ed. Henriqueta Galeno, 1971. v.2, p.427-448.
AS SUAVES amazonas de Pernambuco. Suplemento Cultural D. O. PE, Recife, ano 15, p.7, jan. 2001.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Edwiges de Sá Pereira. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.