Leona Vicario defied convention. A financier and intelligence gatherer for Mexico´s independence struggle two centuries ago, she broke gender barriers and publicly refuted an allegation that she made sacrifices for her country to win the man she loved. As Mexico marks its independence holiday on Wednesday, the anniversary of revolutionary leader Miguel Hidalgo´s 1810 call for freedom from Spanish colonizers, some academics and activists think Mexico has yet to fully embrace Vicario and her forward-thinking positions on equality. She didn´t command rebel armies or die by execution like Hidalgo and successor José María Morelos. But Vicario challenged not just foreign rule, but also a society that deemed women unworthy of public roles. This year, Vicario is in the official spotlight, even as Mexico endures high rates of violence against women and other contemporary afflictions. On Aug. 21, a bronze statue of Vicario, fists on hips, was unveiled on the Paseo de la Reforma, a major Mexico City avenue. While Vicario also got a state funeral in 1842, her name is inscribed in Mexico´s congress building and a town is named after her, some say more is needed. “Incorporate her into textbooks, make her story reach young people by every means possible,” said Celia del Palacio, author of the historical novel “Leona” and a researcher at the communications and cultural studies center at the Universidad Veracruzana, a Mexican university. Vicario was born in Mexico City in 1789. She studied widely at a time when such an education was mostly denied to women, including those of means. Her parents died in 1807, leaving her a fortune with which she funded rebel activities. Spanish authorities discovered her secret role. Vicario fled, ended up on trial, escaped, had her property confiscated, married independence figure Andrés Quintana Roo and had children, and returned to Mexico City in 1820 as crown authority crumbled. After independence, a newspaper published her rebuttal to politician Lucas Alamán, who suggested Vicario campaigned against Spain to win the affection of Quintana Roo.