Virginia Gutiérrez: learn about her life story

The academic career of Virginia Gutiérrez | Her anthropological discoveries and accomplishments

Many Colombian women have achieved great things in science. One of them is Virginia Gutiérrez, one of the famous Colombian women in the field of anthropology. We tell you about her academic career and why she is one of the most important in this field.

The academic career of Virginia Gutiérrez

Some famous history journalists, such as Diana Uribe, have portrayed the lives of some of Colombia’s famous personalities. Well, here we will tell you all about one of them: Virginia Gutiérrez, who has transcended in the scientific field thanks to her great work.

She was born in Socorro, Santander, on November 4, 1921. Her life lasted until September 2, 1999, when she passed away at 77. However, she has made great advances in the medium. It all began when she studied at the Escuela Normal Superior. Here, she obtained a degree in Social and Economic Sciences, in 1944.

At that time, she also obtained the degree of Ethnologist from the National Ethnological Institute. Subsequently, she studied for a master’s degree in Social and Medical Anthropology (1953-1954) at the University of California at Berkeley. However, she would not be satisfied. In fact, she would also obtain a doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences at the National Pedagogical University in 1962. She was a very studious woman! (El País, 2019).

Her anthropological discoveries and accomplishments

However, she has transcended Colombian anthropology for her studies. An exemplary case was in 1947, when she made an expedition to La Guajira. At that time, she portrayed the reality of the Wayúu Indians, until then little known by the country (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2019).

She also studied the composition and historical transformation of Colombian family structures. For example, in her 1963 book Familia y Cultura en Colombia, she comments that the roles of Colombian families were different from what was historically believed. The clearest case was the division of labor since it was thought that only men worked, but women also generated money.

She has been recognized for her great work. For example, since 2016 her face started to circulate on the 10 thousand peso bill. The government decided to honor her for all the knowledge she brought about to the lives of people in all regions of Colombia.

In addition, Virginia Gutiérrez received some important awards. Among others, the Woman of the Year in Colombia (1967), gold medal for scientific merit (1983), and the tribute of the University of the Andes for the International Year of the Family (1984) (Heroinas, 2020). 

She has undoubtedly been one of the most important women in the history of the country. Her cultural and anthropological studies made it possible to eliminate the knowledge gap about the different Colombian regions. We hope this information will be of help to you!


El País (2019, November 4). Virginia Gutiérrez de Pineda, la mujer que cambió la historia de la antropología en Colombia.

Heroinas (2020, September 2). Virginia Gutiérrez de Pineda antropóloga colombiana pionera.

Universidad Nacional de Colombia (2019, September 22). Virginia Gutiérrez de Pineda, la mujer que marcó la historia de la antropología en Colombia.