chapter  8
18 Pages

Pronatalism and motherhood in Franco's Spain

Of course Franco's propaganda did not deal with social reality but rather evoked a myth of decadence and moral degeneracy. It is true that there had been considerable improvement in the situation of women since the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931. Women achieved suffrage, divorce, and the derogation of the most blatant discriminatory legislation in the areas of family jurisdiction, politics and work.3 However, despite the achievement of equal rights, in practice inequality still characterized the social situation of Spanish women. Informal instances of social control still operated to maintain asymmetry between the sexes, few women acceded to public life and politics and, despite legislation to the contrary, wage discrimination and occupational segmentation characterized female wage work.4 Even during the Civil War, despite greater female intervention in public affairs through their dedication to the war effort and a change in rhetoric on women's status, basic gender power relations and the restriction of female cultural and professional horizons continued.5 Although birth control was practised and abortion was legalized in Catalonia, neither one nor the other had been assimilated into the norms of acceptable social conduct. With the exception of some members of the minority sex reform and eugenic movements, who advocated the practice of birth control, and an even smaller minority which condoned abortion,6 both issues were still publicly unacceptable cultural values, although it is true that, by then, they had been clearly integrated into the dynamics of everyday experience.