Maria Eva Duarte de Peron was the second wife of Argentine president Juan Peron and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She was born in rural Argentina in 1919 and was the youngest of five children.
She moved to the nation’s capital Buenos Aires at 15 to pursue a career as an actress. She met her husband, Juan Peron there on January 22nd 1944 during a charity event to benefit the victims of an earthquake on San Juan, Argentina. They got married the following year and Juan was elected President of Argentina in 1946.
Eva spoke on behalf of labor rights, ran the ministries of Labor and Health, founded and ran the charitable Eva Peron Foundation, championed women’s suffrage in Argentina and founded the nation’s first female political party, the Female Peronist Party.
In 1951, Eva Peron announced her candidacy for the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina and received great support from the Peronist political base, low income and working class. Opposition from the country’s opposition as well as her declining health forced her to withdraw her candidacy.
Eva Peron was given the title of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” by the Argentine congress shortly before she succumbed to cancer at the age of 33. She was given a state funeral.
Eva Peron’s background as well as upbringing is an encouragement to the many living in poverty to not be victims of poverty and to rise above their standards. Eva was a great woman and women of her generation owe a debt to her for her passionate leadership.