Clara González de Behringer, First Female Lawyer in Panama and the First Latinamerican Female to earn a PhD in Law
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Clara González de Behringer, First Female Lawyer in Panama and the First Latinamerican Female to earn a PhD in Law

Would you complete College studies knowing that you will not be allowed to practice your profession? Clara Gonzalez did it!

Clara González

She was born in Panama in the late nineteenth century, from a humble family, she lived with her parents and a younger brother. Her childhood was lived under the influence of a civil war and scenes of exploitation of indigenous workers. Despite this, Clara remembered those days, like happy days.

She studied at the Escuela Normal de Institutoras (Teacher’s School) to obtain her diploma as a teacher and then began her studies at the Law School, where there were times when she was not allowed to enter. Derived from this situation, the anecdote is told of when Clara wore her brother’s hat and dressed as a man to get into the classroom.

Definitely Clara was very persevering woman and, finally in 1922 she became the first woman lawyer of Panama, graduating with the thesis “La Mujer ante el Derecho Panameño (“The Woman in Panamanian Law”), one of the first documents that deals with the women legal rights in Panama.

Clara also had to fight for a change in the law that prevented women from working. Two years after graduating , in 1924, the law was modified and then Clara was able to practice her profession as a lawyer.

Along with other women she founded the Feminist National Party and the School of Female Culture, where classes on Politics, History, Civic Education, and other topics of professional and social fields.

In August 1927 Clara traveled to New York , she had won a scholarship to study modern criminal systems in general, and particularly about women and delinquent children.

In 1929, she obtains her doctorate in law diploma in the United States, becoming the first Latin American with this title.

In 1943 Clara got married Charles A. Behringer, a civil engineer who had arrived in Panama to work on the Panama Canal Zone during the Second World War.

Clara was lawyer , writer , civic educator, advocate and activist of women’s rights and one of the pioneers in the political life of her country.


Marco Serro, Yolanda (2017) Clara González de Behringer. Protagonistas Panamá Siglo XX. Retrieved on 06/06/2019 from:

Tribunal Electoral [Museo de la Cultura Democrática] (February, 2018). Clara. Retrieved on 06/06/2019 from:

Jose Luis Belmar [ADN Opinion] (November 2016) Clara Gonzalez. Retrieved on 06/06/2019 from: