Carla Gracia is an author that I love;she writes wonderfully well, and when she was asked to write the biography of Mercè Pàniker, she didn’t hesitate at all because she has always admired his woman’s life and work… Mercè Pàniker deserved a biography written by a masterful pen, with a thorough research and a sweet forcefulness to make you fall in love with it, and who better than Carla Gracia to do so?
Pàniker was a woman ahead of her time, an innovator who was made invisible by her own family. The daughter of an Indian father and a Catalan mother, she grew up in Barcelona in the twenties and spent her teenage years in a boarding school in the Nazi Germany, which she left at the outbreak of World War II.
She studied chemistry at the University of Barcelona and later, a master’s degree at the University of Leeds, where she was enrolled with only four women among more than twenty men. She was often the only woman in a world of men but she was always brave; she faced everyone in her way, without excuses and without asking for permission. When she returned to Barcelona, she took over the family business —Paniker S.A., a gluing company — and promoted a very strong network within the chemical industry. Her husband died suddenly and she had to raise her four children alone. With the arrival of democracy, she became involved in the defense of women’s freedom and equality.
I do not read biographies often, but this one is worthy, because, when we talk about women who have been a reference, the same ones always come to our minds. Mercè Pàniker should be known as a brave woman, activist and with an emblematic family, with two philosopher brothers and always linked to culture. Thank you, Carla for this magnificent book and for being a loudspeaker of an extraordinary woman as Mercè Pàniker was.