anarchist women's organization in Spain
Mujeres Libres (English: Free Women) was an anarchist women's organisation that existed in Spain from 1936 to 1939. Founded by Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Mercedes Comaposada, and Amparo Poch y Gascón as a small women's group in Madrid, it rapidly grew to a national federation of 30,000 members at its height in the summer of 1938.
It emerged from the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist movement, composed of three main organisations: the CNT union; the FAI federation; and the FIJL youth wing. Many women who participated in these groups felt that their issues were being ignored by the predominantly male anarchists. As a result, the autonomous Mujeres Libres groups were created, pursuing both women's liberation and the anarchist social revolution. They argued that the two objectives were equally important and should be pursued in parallel. Aiming towards the empowerment of working class women, they organised activities ranging from education programs and technical classes to childcare centres and maternity care.
While Mujeres Libres sought recognition as the fourth main organisation within the anarchist movement, they never formally achieved equal status to the other branches. Founded in the Second Spanish Republic, the group followed the anarchists in supporting the Republican faction when the Spanish Civil War began. Upon victory by the opposing Nationalist forces in 1939, Mujeres Libres collapsed, and the anarchist movement as a whole was outlawed.
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