A Woman’s Struggle: The Changing Image of Womanhood on the Republican Side of the Spanish Civil War

Morales, Marcelo, European Studies, University of Virginia
Amago, Samuel, Spanish Italian and Portuguese (SPAN), University of Virginia
Walsh, Denise, Women, Gender, and Sexuality, University of Virginia

In this thesis, I focus on two main identities and two main women’s organizations that I
considered important for the development of a feminist challenge to the patriarchal society of
1930’s Spain. The two main identities and roles I focused on were the miliciana and the mother.
Through an in-depth analysis of both roles, I explain how the war afforded women a new
opportunity to challenge normative understandings of womanhood and how they performed their
gender. Though seemingly at odds with each other, both the miliciana and the mother serve to
further open society for women, allowing them to embody a new idea of what it meant to be a
woman. In this thesis I also analyze two women’s organizations: the Agrupación de Mujeres
Antifascistas (AMA) and the Mujeres Libres organization. By understanding and analyzing the
main mission of both organizations, I explain how –like with the miliciana and the mother—
women also had options in how and with who they participated. I argue that although these two
organizations differed in their ideology –one for a social revolution now and the other for a
social revolution later—their praxis was very similar and indicative of a communal effort by all
women to challenge normative understandings of women’s involvement in politics, especially
during this tumultuous time. In sum, this thesis approaches already established authors and their
works in a way that explains how the image and practice of womanhood changed at the advent of
the war.

MA (Master of Arts)
Women, Spanish Civil War, Miliciana, Agrupacion de Mujeres Antifascistas, Mujeres Libres, Combative Motherhood, Antifascist Women's Organization, AMA
Issued Date: