Mujeres Libres

Mujeres Libres - Free Women of Spain

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Conditions for the vast majority of people in Spain in the 1920s and 1930s were appalling. For women they were especially bad. There were extreme gender divisions. Most women were economically dependent on men. Household chores and childcare were exclusively women's domain. In both countryside and city women's wages were lower than men's. For example the average daily wage of a male agricultural labourer was 3 pesetas while a women got just half this, for working from dawn to dusk.

Mujeres Libres

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Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were a group of women anarchists who organised and fought both for women's liberation and an anarchist revolution during the Spanish Civil War. The work they did is truly inspirational. Their example shows how the struggle against women's oppression and against capitalism can be combined in one fight for freedom.

As anarchists they rejected any relegation of women to a secondary position within the libertarian movement. In the 1930's feminism had a narrower meaning than it does now, and they rejected it as a theory which fought for 'equality of women within an existing system of privileges'. They argued "We are not, and were not then feminists. We were not fighting against men. We did not want to substitute a feminist hierarchy for a masculine one. It's necessary to work, to struggle, together because if we don't we'll never have a social revolution. But we needed our own organisation to struggle for ourselves".

Mujeres Libres: Free Women of Spain

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The women who founded Mujeres Libres were all active within the anarchist movement, in the CNT or in the FIJL, however as women they were in a minority and found it difficult to incorporate more women into the activist core, either because of the sexism of the men, or because of the reluctance of the women or a combination of both.

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