The Colombian daily El Tiempo has just published an article by Myriam Bautista paying homage to the first women engineers in Colombia.  They were Rebeca and Guillermina Uribe Bone, who graduated as chemical and civil engineers, respectively, in 1945 and 1948.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Basque Guillermo Uribe Echevarría emigrated to Guatemala, and there he married a local, María Teresa Bone Romero.  After several years in Central America, and with six children in tow, they moved to Medellín, in Colombia, where they spent they rest of their lives and had even more children, for a total of eight!

And by all accounts, that family could be considered extraordinary.  The eldest, Antonio, became an aviator; Rebecca became a chemical engineer; Helena, a doctor; Guillermina, a civil engineer; then cam Carmen and María Teresa; Roberto became a doctor, and, like Jorge, born in Medellín.

At that time, women going to university was not common, and their choice of a very technical degree (be it civil or chemical engineering) was outright extraordinary, to the point that these two sisters were the first to specialize in those subjects and get university degrees, in the 1940s.

This was undoubtedly due to the attitude and the way of thinking and seeing the role of women in society.  As Guillermina explained, “My father was ahead of his time, and that’s why he pushed us hard.  He had a broader view of women.”

And the family’s relationship with the homeland was never broken, as is shown by how one of the protagonists of today’s article, Rebeca, lived in Bilbao until her death.

Just a few days ago, February 11, was the sixth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science.  We can think of no better way to promote Equality in Science for Society than by remembering the commitment and effort of these two pioneers, and of those parents who understood that there were no limits or barriers to the development of their daughters, especially in times when, we’re sure, doing so was hardly easy.

We’ll leave you with the El Tiempo article, and articles about the two engineers, published on the websites of the respective universities.

El Tiempo – 24/2/2021 – Colombia

Dos pioneras en tiempos difíciles para las mujeres

Fueron dos muchachas que en los años cuarenta del siglo XX estudiaron en facultades donde, sin colgar un aviso que dijera ‘No se admiten mujeres’, no solían contar con aspirantes del género femenino sino hasta veinte años después. Rebeca y Guillermina pasaron las difíciles pruebas de admisión y se integraron por cinco años a sus facultades, alternando siempre con compañeros y profesores hombres. Fueron las únicas en las aulas de ingenierías en Medellín y Bogotá, con muy buenas notas en toda la carrera.

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Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana – 21/1/2019 – Colombia

La Facultad de Química Industrial de la UCB (hoy UPB) recibe a la primera mujer en graduarse como ingeniera en Colombia

En la actualidad, pese a que las condiciones sociales alrededor del mundo han venido cambiando lenta pero progresivamente para garantizar la equidad, aun es baja la proporción de mujeres que inician y culminan carreras de ingeniería y, en general, carreras asociadas a la ciencia y la tecnología, a las cuales se suele referirse como STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

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Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana – 17/5/2017 – Colombia

Fallece la primera ingeniera del país

El pasado 8 de mayo en Bilbao, España, falleció Rebeca Uribe Bone, primera mujer graduada de la carrera de Ingeniería Química en la Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana de Medellín y la primera mujer graduada como ingeniera en el país.

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Universidad Nacional de Colombia – /10/2017 – Colombia

Primera Ingeniera Civil Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Bogotá 18 Diciembre 1948

A la edad de 98 años, falleció en Bogotá el pasado 11 de octubre GUILLERMINA URIBE BONE DE STELLA, primera mujer en recibir el título de Ingeniero Civil en la Facultad de Matemáticas e Ingeniería de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, sede Bogotá, el sábado 18 de diciembre de 1948, de acuerdo con el Acta de Grado N0. 779; es decir, hace 70 años.

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