In my presentation, I will focus on gender relationships in political activism during the seventies in Spain. In the last years of the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975), the participation of women in opposition grew, especially in the Communist Party and the New Left. Their involvement explains the incorporation of feminist demands into these parties’ agendas. These militants also participated in the labour movement, student activism, neighborhood associations and feminist mobilization, contributing to the dissemination of democratic and egalitarian values ​​in Spanish society. This experience led to growth on a personal level and to the questioning of the traditional gender discourses not only in Francoist institutions, but also with their families, their friends and among their party colleagues.

However, the legalization of these parties after 1977 did not imply the access of women to spaces of power, as institutionalization frequently meant the consolidation of gender hierarchies. Although they held some public positions, the percentage of communist female deputies and councilors was limited. This could also have been due to a crisis a few years later in the communist and extreme left wing parties, after which many of their former militants continued their commitment in the feminist movement, which was active until the mid-eighties.

The communist women’s assessment of their membership was diverse: those who defended a revolutionary project were disappointed by the transition, while others were satisfied by the consolidation of democracy. All of them valued the expansion of rights for women positively, although some considered it insufficient. The experience of militancy also had a great personal impact and resulted in the rethinking of their relationships with family, friends and partners.


Mónica Moreno-Seco is Associate Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Alicante (Spain). She was director of the Research Institute for Gender Studies at UA, vice-president of the AEIHM (Spanish Association for Research in Women’s History) and spokesperson of the directive committee of the Spanish Contemporary History Association. She is editor of the UA journals Feminismo/s and Pasado y Memoria. Revista de Historia Contemporánea. She was the principal researcher of the project “Gender, commitment and transgression in Spain, 1890-2016”, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Her main research fields are gender history, religion and laicism history and left wing political cultures history in twentieth century Spain. She has published papers in History and Anthropology, Vingtième Siècle, Spagna Contemporanea, Storia delle Donne, Ayer, Historia y Política, Historia Contemporánea, Arbor, etc.