The Representation Of Women As A Consequence Of The Spanish Civil War

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The representation of women as a consequence of the Spanish Civil War

He leads by Francisco Franco, the Spanish Civil War was a military revolt between the Republicans and the fascist nationalists who lasted three years, from 1936 to 1939. The war was not only an internal war in Spain but also several other nations, including Italy, Portugal, Germany and the Soviet Union. The consequences of the Spanish Civil War brought many economic, social and political changes. Because war not only affected Spain, there was also a series of international repercussions in the twentieth century. During times of intensified social changes, such as war and revolution, women are repressed and restricted without luck. Therefore, this essay will describe the causes of the Spanish war and emphasize the consequent changes that women experience in society.

After World War I, many countries, including Spain, experienced an economic crisis that led to great instability and, which is more prominent, a huge division between the poor and the rich. The poor began to form groups and organized in communists and anarchists. Before giving up, Miguel Primo de Rivera did nothing during his leadership to help reform the country, especially when the poor were in a very difficult situation. With the overthrow of the government, a new Constitution was formed in 1931 that guaranteed human rights and basic freedoms. This was called the Second Republic, but despite the establishment of a democracy, there was no stability in part due to the great depression. In response to leftist groups who wanted reforms for the poor, right -wing extremists, such as the Falange militia, did not accept this ‘government’ and initiated a coup d’etat led by General Franco. With the help of Germany, the nationalists assured their position and interests.

While the Second Republic could never contribute stability and prosperity to the country because all parties did not respect the other, the Second Republic caused temporary changes for the position of women in society. Catholic conservative practices ruled the way most Spaniards lived. The literacy rate of women was much lower than that of men and divorce was illegal. Spanish women were oppressed and repressive in extreme. They worked long hours and paid them badly. While the men relax after work, the women worked, returned home, did dinner, cleaned and care for the children. Women worked in agriculture, workshops and factories.

However, when the Republicans controlled the government, they approved a series of laws that gave women the same status as citizens. Women obtained, for example, suffrage rights, maternity benefits and civil marriage option. They fought to maintain the social benefits they had gained and to preserve the general political and economic program of the government. Initially, Spanish women joined the militia units and took arms. However, the increase in wages, the weakening of the power of the Church and the attempts of the Republicans to initiate social changes were the causes of war.

During the war, the women dominated the uprising and formed the resistance column. They were present in the committees, in the militias and in the front line. They were present everywhere because they also worked as nurses, in hospitals and in education. Several organizations, such as the free women of the anarchist side and the FEMANGE Women’s Section, were organized by women. While the organization of free women struggled for the liberation of women and the social revolution, the Falangista group undertook public activities such as nursing, but never to challenge male power. This was the opposite of some of the Republican women who did not fight to restore conservative ideas about gender. Sunly the nationalists believed that the role of women in life was to be a wife and mother inside the home and defend the teachings of the Church throughout their lives. 

However, as a consequence of war, all these privileges changed. The women were under the strict control of the government of Franco and the Catholic Church. Divorce was no longer legal and had no right to vote. In addition, abortion was extremely illegal and almost all economic activities were prohibited, such as employment. The only job that was allowed was in nursery. While women were once an integral part of society, the consequence of the war quickly changed their position in a marginalized group.      

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