Josefina Valencia Muñoz

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Josefina Valencia Muñoz
Josefina Valencia de Hubach.jpg
46th Minister of National Education of Colombia
In office
16 September 1956 – 10 May 1957
President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
Preceded by Gabriel Betancourt Mejía
Succeeded by Próspero Carbonell MacAusland
Governor of Cauca
In office
21 September 1955 – 16 September 1956
President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
Preceded by Tomás Castrillón Muñoz
Succeeded by Víctor Gómez Gómez
Personal details
Born Josefina Valencia Muñóz
(1913-09-22)22 September 1913
Popayán, Cauca, Colombia
Died 4 October 1991(1991-10-04) (aged 78)
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Resting place Museo Guillermo León Valencia
Nationality Colombian
Political party National Popular Alliance
Other political
Spouse(s) Enrique Hubach Eggers (1943-1968)
Relations Guillermo Valencia Castillo (father)
Guillermo León Valencia Muñóz (brother)
Children Martha Hubach Valencia
Erna Hubach Valencia
Occupation Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Josefina Valencia Muñoz (22 September 1913 – 4 October 1991) was a Colombian politician, and the first woman to be appointed governor of a Colombian department as Governor of Cauca, and the first woman to be appointed to a cabinet-level position as the 46th Minister of National Education of Colombia.

A leader of the women's suffrage movement in Colombia, she became the first woman to be appointed to serve in a national legislative position in Colombia as part of the National Constituent Assembly in 1954 where she helped introduce what would eventually be the Legislative Act No. 3, which modified Article 171 of the Colombian Constitution of 1886 that granted universal suffrage to women.


Josefina was born in Popayán on 22 September 1913 to Guillermo Valencia Castillo and Josefina Muñoz Muñoz, the third of five children, her siblings were Guillermo León, Álvaro Pío, Luz and Guimar.[1][2] In 1943 she married Enrique Hubach Eggers, a Chilean geologist and scientist; Enrique and Josefina had three daughters: Martha, Erna, and a third who died at a young age.[3][4]


Valencia was already familiar with the politics of Colombia in the 1950s; her father, Guillermo Valencia had been an active member of the Colombian Conservative Party, a Congressman, Minister of Finance, Governor, and presidential candidate in the elections of 1918, and 1930, and her brother Guillermo León had been Councilman, Congressman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador.

In April 1954, the National Feminist Organization of Colombia under the leadership of former First Lady of Colombia, Bertha Hernández Fernández, and María Currea Manrique.[5]

When General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla came to power in a military coup d'état, the women's suffrage movement had an ideological split between those who opposed military rule and those who supported the regime. Valencia seized the opportunity and joined the National Popular Alliance, a political movement started by General Rojas. Valencia became a supporter and confidant of General Rojas in a time when the support of women was becoming more and more important. Her direct lobbying to the President paid off, On 28 July 1954 in an unusual move, General Rojas who had maintained the National Constituent Assembly that had been started by his predecessor, the deposed Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez, named Valencia Member of the National Assembly in representation of the Conservative Party with Teresa Santamaría Santamaría as her alternate, thus becoming the first woman to serve in a Colombian national legislative body; she was later joined by Esmeralda Arboleda Cadavid in representation of the Liberal Party with María Currea Manrique as her alternate. They joined forces and introduced the Legislative Act on the Citizenship of Women to be studied and debated by the Assembly. On 25 August 1954 the plenary of the National Constituent Assembly approved the Legislative Act No. 3 which modified Article 171 of the Colombian Constitution of 1886, granting universal suffrage to all Colombian women.

President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (centre right) and Josefina Valencia (centre left) surrounded by the rest of the Council of Ministers.

On 21 September 1955, General Rojas Pinilla appointed Valencia governor of her native Department of Cauca,[6] the first woman to ever exercise an executive position in the country, a post in which she served until September 16, 1956, when she was called to Bogotá to serve as the first female government minister, in the Ministry of National Education.[7][8]

By means of Decree No. 1283 of 19 June 1957, the Colombian Military Junta that succeeded Rojas Pinilla in the executive, appointed her Permanent Delegate of Colombia to the UNESCO in Paris, becoming the first Ambassadress of Colombia.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Méndez Valencia, María Alexandra. "Valencia de Hubach, Josefina". Gran Enciclopedia de Colombia del Círculo de Lectores (in Spanish). Bogotá: Luis Ángel Arango Library. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  2. ^ Méndez Valencia, María Alexandra. "Valencia, Guillermo". Gran Enciclopedia de Colombia del Círculo de Lectores (in Spanish). Bogotá: Luis Ángel Arango Library. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  3. ^ Velásquez Toro, Magdala; Chaparro, Gloria; Laverde Toscano, María Cristina (1997). 40 Años del Voto de la Mujer en Colombia [40 Years of Women's Suffrage in Colombia] (in Spanish). Bogotá: Feriva. p. 35. OCLC 47198429. 
  4. ^ Barón Ortega, Julio (1999). El Conservatismo Colombiano, Su Historia Y Sus Hombres, Vol. II [Colombian Conservatism, Its History And Its Men, Vol. II] (in Spanish). Tunja: Talleres Gráficos. p. 48. ISBN 978-958-96653-0-5. OCLC 42949602. 
  5. ^ Peláez Mejía, Margarita María, Derechos Políticos y Ciudadanía De Las Mujeres En Colombia: Cincuenta Años Del Voto Femenino [Rights and Citizenship of Women in Colombia: Fifty Years of the Female Vote] (DOC) (in Spanish), University of Vigo, retrieved 2010-09-16 
  6. ^ González Mosquera, Guillermo Alberto (2005-12-03). "Josefina Valencia De Hubach". Revista Semana (in Spanish). Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  7. ^ "Las Mujeres Que Actuaron" [The Women Who Acted]. Revista Credencial Historia (in Spanish). Bogotá: Luis Ángel Arango Library (289). September 2005. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  8. ^ González Díaz, Andrés (1982). Ministros del siglo XX, Vol. 2 [Minister of the 20th Century, Vol, 2]. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  9. ^ Memoria de Relaciones Exteriores, Vol. 2 [Memoir of Foreign Affairs, Vol 2] (Government Publication) (in Spanish). Bogotá: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1958. p. 321. OCLC 094971.