In this essay written for the , a mainstream publication with a primarily male audience, Legarda articulates the feminist position.
and President of the National Federation of Womens Clubs (NFWC).
NFWC led the campaign for suffrage in the Philippines in 1921.
We are lucky to count among our law makers a considerable number of progressive and broad-minded men who are heartily in accord with our aspirations, and rightly so. This attitude, it seems to me is the best proof for our capacity to exercise the suffrage.
For woman suffrage is a just and honorable cause, and the reasonableness of our demand is its best recommendation. We believe in our cause but we do not believe that to attain our end we have to resort to violent and drastic methods which would only reflect upon ourselves.
Their strategies involved appealing to male reason rather than by violent protest (unlike British suffragists).
She labors the point that they were already qualified to become doctors and lawyers and therefore, since women had been given access to tertiary education, it was incongruous that they be able to practice law but not be given the right to vote.But while the child will become a man and a voter, the lunatic may be cured, and the criminal may be pardoned, no amount of wisdom, no age, no peculiar fitness, no public service rendered, however great, no effort, can remove from woman the extraordinary disability because of her sex.This is contrary to natural justice and to the most enlightened political philosophy.In 1912, American suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt visited Manila in the hopes of starting a suffrage movement, but there was not much interest before NFWC activity began in 1921.Filipino suffragists did not challenge cultural constructions of the feminine (as moral guardian, beauty queen, wife, and mother). Legarda was Carnival Queen in 1924 (beauty queen of the annual Manila Carnival, the precursor to the Miss Philippine Beauty Pageant), and was a noted civic worker.We are arraying ourselves not as foes of men but as friends, demanding, not an empire but friendship and equality, and wishing to reign, not over men, but over ourselves.I am fully aware that in this cause some of our worst foes are found within our own sex.We are of the conviction that good manners and soft words will bring the most difficult things to pass.In the words of George Washington, we will not allow our campaign to a decent warmth but will submit our sentiments quietly, knowing full well that a dictatorial manner, though it may carry conviction, always arouses resentment.The citizens of this country are Filipinos and women form one-half of our population.Our nation is created, not by one sex alone, but jointly by men and women.