Extreme gender divisions existed in Spain for the majority of people in the 1920s and 1930s. Women were generally responsible for household chores and childcare while men were the primary breadwinners. Wage discrimination was prevalent in both the countryside and the city. Women’s lives centered around relationships with family, neighbors, and, more rarely, female co-workers. Men, on the other hand, interacted in factories, bars, and organizations. As a result, few unions or other political organizations included women.

In preparation for the revolution and to address the situation of women in the country, however, a network of women activists began to meet. They soon formed the Mujeres Libres (Free Women) organization and created the following anthem that shows how the war affected Spanish women and families.

Source: "Mujeres Libres' Anthem." In Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women, Martha A. Ackelsberg. 1991.


Puño en alto mujeres de Iberia
hacia horizontes preñados de luz
por rutas ardientes,
los pies en la tierra
la frente en lo azul.

Afirmando promesas de vida
desafiamos la tradición
modelemos la arcilla caliente
de un mundo que nace del dolor.

¡Que el pasado se hunda en la nada!
¡Que nos importa del ayer!
Queremos escribir de nuevo
la palabra MUJER.

Puño en alto mujeres del mundo
hacia horizontes preñados de luz
por rutas ardientes
adelante, adelante
de cara a la luz.

Fists upraised, women of Iberia
towards horizons pregnant with light
on paths afire
feet on the ground
face to the blue sky.

Affirming the promise of life
we defy tradition
we mold the warm clay
of a new world born of pain.

Let the past vanish into nothingness!
What do we care for yesterday!
We want to write anew
the word WOMAN.

Fists upraised, women of the world
towards horizons pregnant with light
on paths afire
onward, onward
toward the light.