A large body of research has been dedicated to delving into the different facets of Spanish feminism during the democratic transition period. On the contrary, few scholarships have deepened the complex and multi-semantic role of female militants within left-wing political parties that shaped post-Franco democratic reform. Notably, this paper aims to explore the distinctive “socio-cultural transition” of Spanish socialist female militants. This is a much-needed analysis. Indeed, during the democratization and consolidation of democracy period, the PSOE achieved great power and impact, directly conditioning societal practices and attitudes and consequently modelling ideas on masculinity and femininity among Spaniards after a long sexist military and Catholic dictatorship. How did these women take part in a political party formed by men and mostly for men with an inherited very traditional vision of gender roles? To what extent were they able to change the party? What kind of political cultures did they bring into PSOE? How did Spanish Socialists frame the women activity within their party? The paper will address three major issues: 1) Gender relations during late Francoism within socialist exiles and in the Spanish interior; 2) The formation of the Comisión Mujer y Socialismo (Women and Socialism Commission) and its controversies within the PSOE and during the period of post-Franco legalization of left-wing political parties. 3) The institutionalisation of gender issues in Spanish administrative bodies within the first Felipe González government and the consequent debate on the need for political party gender quotas during the consolidation of democracy. 


Giulia Quaggio is a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the Faculty of Geography and History of the Complutense University of Madrid. Her research focuses on the socio-cultural history of the democratization process in Spain and on the cultural relations among southern European countries after the Second World War. Her first book La Cultura en Transición(The Culture in Transition. Reconciliation and Cultural Policies in Democratic Spain – Alianza 2014) explores how culture converted into a special tool regulating the new democratic relationship between citizens and power. She is currently working on a monograph on Spanish anti-NATO committees as distinctive clusters of oppositional culture that brought the ‘other side’ of Spanish democratization to light (Routledge).