Josefa Llanes Escoda’s 120th birthday is celebrated with a Google Doodle

Josefa Llanes Escoda, founder of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, has been honoured in the Google Doodle for September 20, 2018.

Known for her determination and yearning to be educated from a young age, after graduating as valedictorian, Josefa Llanes Escoda joined the Red Cross and her social work led to her being featured on the 1,000 peso note.

As a strong advocate for female suffrage, she worked to ensure all citizens could vote and founded organisations for underprivileged youth. But who is Josefa Llanes Escoda?

Josefa Llanes Escoda, founder of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, has been honoured

Josefa Llanes Escoda biography

Born on September 20, 1898 in the Dingras town in Ilocos Norte, Josefa Llanes Escoda is renowned as one of Philippine history’s most important pioneers for women’s issues.

After graduating as valedictorian from Dingras Elementary School and salutatorian from Laong Provincial High School, Josefa earned a teaching degree from Philippine Normal College, graduating with honours in 1919.

Josefa earned her teaching certificate from the University of the Philippines in 1922 and then went to the US, where she studied social work, finishing with a Masters in Sociology from Colombia University.

During her time in the US, she met Antonio Escoda, who was a reporter from the Philippine Press Bureau and following their return to Manila, they got married and had two children, named Maria Teresa and Antonio Jr.

Her most notable work includes having founded Boys Town in Manila for young people who are underprivileged in 1937 and later, the Girl Scouts in 1940, according to the Google Doodle.

This encouraged President Manuel L. Quezon to sign the charter of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and gave the Movement recognition of its role in the leadership training of girls and women.

She served as the first National Executive of GSP until she was captured by the Japanese Occupation army because she was considered a hero during the Japanese Occupation after she provided aid to prisoners of war.

As reported by ABS CBN News, Josefa was also fondly referred to as Pepang by her peers, but she and her husband Antonio were both arrested in 1944 and executed the following year.

Today, Josefa’s face appears on the Philippine one thousand peso note and a street in Manila has also been named after the famous social worker.

What is a Google Doodle?

As reported in Rappler, the Google Doodle for September 20, 2018 has been designed in order to illustrate the essence of Escoda’s life work. The Doodle presents Josefa with girl scouts and is seen guiding them to the right path.

Google said this is ‘a close portrayal of how Escoda led young Filipinas towards preparing for their responsibilities to the nation and to the world community.’ She is also shown wearing a shawl similar to the iconic Girl Scout scarf.

Google Doodles are small illustrations or animations that appear in the Google logo on the search engine’s homepage. The first time a Google Doodle was used was in 1998, when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin visited the 1998 Burning Man Festival.

To commemorate their trip, the founders drew a stick-man standing behind the second ‘o’ in the Google logo.

Recent doodles include Caio Fernando AbreuJoanna Baillie and Professor Dorothy Hill.

Written by Madhvi Mavadiya