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Arts & Culture

History of Barcelona’s Most Influential Women

Written by Daniella

Many women have become famous for their entrepreneurial spirit, intelligence, courage and amazing contributions throughout Barcelona’s history. Maybe their names don’t necessarily ring a bell, but what is sure, is that they have somehow had a great influence on Barcelona’s and Spain’s future.

Get to know some of these cultured, striving and sophisticated women, and discover why they have become of such an influence in the history of Barcelona. Today’s article by ShBarcelona will tell you more. Let’s get inspired by these women!

Related article: Meet some of the most famous Catalan sportsmen and sportswomen

Discover the lesser known history of Barcelona’s most influential women


Photo via Pixabay

Read about these smart and inspirational women, and decide which one will be your new hero!

Santa Eulàlia

One of Barcelona’s most influential women was Santa Eulàlia. This woman was born in the year 290, in the neighbourhood of Horta. At that time Christianity was starting to spread in Europe, although Christians were still having a hard time practicing their beliefs, because they were still being persecuted and killed.

Eulàlia, however, was very faithful to her religion, and she was therefore imprisoned. She was put on trial and then tortured. Nowadays there is still a street in the neighbourhood of El Gotic that carries her name: Baixada de Santa Eulàlia.

María Josefa de Massanés

María Josefa de Massanés was a great 19th century writer and poet in the Romantic era. Her mother died when she was just a child, and that explains why she was raised by her grandparents. She helped her maternal grandmother with her work as an embroiderer, but she was also swept away by literature.

It inspired and motivated her so much, that she eventually became a very prestigious poet, and she was the first of her time.

Maria Josep Colomer i Luque

Her story is a story full of courage, action and bravery. Maria Josep Colomer i Luque was born in Barcelona in 1913, and she became the first woman in Catalonia to fly a plane. She grew up in a traditional bourgeois family, but from an early age she already knew her future was in aeronautics.

After meeting the architect of the airfield in Catalonia, she became the face of his marketing campaigns. Instead of going to a women’s college to study, she flew – in secret – until she started her pilot training, while at the same time working at the airfield.

Later in life she became a teacher and an instructor during the Civil War. Eventually she married and became a mother, and with this she gave up her career as a professional pilot.

Related article: Girl Power! A women-only trip to Barcelona


Photo via Pixabay

Margarida Xirgu i Subirà

Margarida Xirgu i Subirà was an actress and theatre director. She was born in 1888, in the town of Molins de Rei in Barcelona. The first time she was on stage, she was only 12 years old. She did not have an easy life when she was young, because she had to help out her family financially and therefore work in the clothing industry.

Later in life she befriended Lorca and became a big star. She appeared in a couple of films and then became a fantastic theatre director. In commemoration of her legacy, the square near Barcelona’s Teatro Lliure carries her name.

Josefina Castellví i Piulachs

Josefina Castellví i Piulachs was born in the 30s and was the first Spanish woman to go on an expedition to Antarctica. She has a PhD in biological science from the University of Barcelona, and she was a well-known research professor at the CSIC.

During her career her work was rewarded with several prizes, such as the St. George’s Cross and the Gold Medal of the City of Barcelona.

Laia Subirats Maté

Laia was born in Barcelona in 1985, and she studied Telecommunications Engineering. She has a PhD in Computer Science and a Master in Telematics. She is still a very young researcher and well-known for her accomplishments on the subject of Artificial Intelligence.

Her main task is to spread her passion and knowledge, and she is one of today’s most influential thinkers in Spain.

Do you know other influential women in Barcelona?

About the author


Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

1 Comment

  • Yeees 😀 Please, I know many more!
    – Angeleta Ferrer
    – Itziar González
    – Teresa Forcades

    Many thanks for share

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