Angela Acuña Braun was a Costa Rican lawyer, prolific feminist leader, writer, and a chronicler of Costa Rican women and their achievements.
Born in Cartago, Costa Rica, Angela began her post-secondary education in France and England where she was exposed to, and inspired by the suffrage women’s movement for the right to vote during the early 20th century. In 1912, Angela returned to Costa Rica to continue her education but was not allowed entry to state universities; instead, she applied to the Liceo de Costa Rica as the only female student. It was at this time that Angela, using pseudonyms, began writing and publishing articles in local newspapers and magazines about women’s rights equality. In 1915, using her real name, Angela founded Figaro Magazine, and used it as a platform to influence changes to the Costa Rican Civil Code.
In 1919, two years after completing a law degree, Angela became the first woman to work for the Ministry of Education where she led numerous labour strikes and recruited women to the suffrage movement. In 1923, Angela founded the Liga Feminista Costarricense (LFC), the first feminist organization in Costa Rica. In 1925, Angela became the first female lawyer in Central America where she quickly pushed for reforms to allow women to actively practice law and pursue careers in the legal field.
Between 1929 and 1939, Angela intensified movements for women’s and worker’s rights. In 1929, she submitted a proposal to the Costa Rican Congress for women’s right to vote, and founded the Association of University Women of Costa Rica, as well as the Costa Rican chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, leading movements for the right of women to serve as mayors and judges.
In 1949, after over 30 years of campaigning, women in Costa Rica were officially allowed to vote.
In 1950, Angela began an ambitious 20 year collaborative project with Austrian journalist, Dr. Blanche Christine Olshack on the history of women. Angela’s landmark, historical project, Costa Rican Women Through Four Centuries, the first of its kind, was published in 2 volumes and was later included in Dr. Olshack’s Universal Encyclopedia of Women.
In 1984, one year after her death, the Angela Acuna Braun Prize was established, an annual awards ceremony that honours women journalists whose work promotes equality and equity.
Angela Acuña Braun was born on October 2, 1888 and died on October 10, 1983 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
“La Vida es Corta” written and performed by Guadalupe Urbina.