Mexican Countryside, 1917: Women in the Revolution, Adelitas

Popular among the troops was Adelita

The woman that the sergeant idolized

More than courageous she was beautiful

And even the colonel respected her.

-Popular Mexican folk song


The women who fought in the revolution were called Adelitas.  The feminine presence in the revolution was widespread. This image of the woman soldier has formed part of the legends of the revolution.


They do everything.  They cook and they command troops.  They accompany their husbands and they lead them.  Some disguise themselves as men, others enter the army as wives and mothers, taking care of their families under hazardous and difficulty conditions.  They ride the tops of trains heading into battle.  Some come because their husbands make them; others come dragging their husbands, Margarita Neri and Carmen Alanis command troops, while Jauna Belen and Dolores Jimenez de Muro rise to the rank of colonel.

They would call us Adelitas because we were revolutionaries.  But the real Adelita was from Cuidad Juarez.  This Adelita would say, “Let’s go.  The one who is afraid stays to cook beans!”  And amid gunshots and gunshots, the one who disobeyed—she herself would kill them.  She was very brave. 

Like women always, they do what is necessary.  When commanders need secret information, they are spies and couriers.  When the battle is fierce, they carry and shoot carbines and pistols.  When uniforms need mending, they are seamstresses.  When the outside world needs information, they are journalists and propagandists and secretaries.  When the injured come back form the battle, they are nurses and doctors.  They formulate plans, write declarations, make tortillas and love.

-Julia Tunon Pablos.  Mujeres en Mexico: Una Historia Olvidada, 133-140

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