During Juan’s 1946 presidential campaign Eva campaigned with him – something that was absolutely unheard of at the time. Some say that it wasn’t a big political move on her part, it was just that she couldn’t bear to be separated from Peron.
It was around this period that the nickname “Evita” which means “Little Eva” originated, as she encouraged the people she visited to address her as such.
She was seen as something of a Princess Diana figure around this time. Remember Princess Diana touching AIDs victims? Eva was out there kissing actual lepers.
She appealed to every workers’ group and all of the underprivileged, claiming that she had grown up like them, and understood their plight.
And her role didn’t end when Peron took power. Eva became Secretary of Labor in everything but name.
In one of her first policies she worked with Peron and the Congress to establish a Decalogue of Rights for those often neglected in Argentine society – the elderly, the children, and the workers. For instance, the seniors’ rights included:
“The right to assistance, to a dwelling place, to food, to clothing, to health care, to spiritual care, to entertainment, to work, to tranquility and to respect.”
She also worked to make every seniors’ home complete with workshops. That meant that those who wanted to continue working at different crafts and occupations (workshops allowed for everything from carpentry to milking cows) could do so.
This is a really nice idea.