Soldaderas were female soldiers who went into combat alongside men during the Mexican Revolution, which initially broke out in opposition to the conservative Díaz regime. The term comes from the Spanish word soldada which denotes a payment made to the person who provided for a soldier’s well being.The majority of these women led ordinary lives, but took up arms during the war to fight for freedom. Among the soldaderas, Dolores Jiménez y Muro, Margarita Neri, and Hermila Galindo are often considered heroines in contemporary Mexico.
Today, the term La Adelita is used with pride among Mexican women. La Adelita was the title of a Corrido (folk ballad) about a soldadera named “Adelita”, and became one of the most beloved songs to come out of the Revolution.
“Soldaderas,” camp followers in the revolution, cooked, nursed, and provided sexual and emotional comfort. Some fought and were executed in the course of battle. The image of “la soldadera,” the woman fighting on behalf of the Mexican community, was praised as a national symbol of strength and resistance. Yet it was an ambivalent image: praised within the context of an often mythicized revolution, the “soldaderas” were criticized for their relative sexual freedom and independence. The term “soldadera” became double edged. When used to describe an individual women, it could be synonymous with “whore.” source reference -by Devra Weber Oral History and Mexicana Farmworkers