The Mujeres Libres (Free Women) of Spain emerged as a way “to empower women to make of them individuals capable of contributing to the structuring of the future society, individuals who have learned to be self- determining, not to follow blindly the dictates of any organisation.”
They recognised that although “it’s necessary to work, to struggle, together because if we don’t we’ll never have a social revolution,” they also “needed our own organisation to struggle for ourselves.” In facing the twin oppression of sexism and Spain’s peasant society, they “set up literacy programmes, technically oriented classes, and classes in social studies.” They “ran a lying-in hospital, which provided birth and post-natal care for women, as well as classes on child and maternal health, birth control and sexuality.” And they “helped to establish rural collectives” with the anarchists of the CNT and FAI.
But their challenge to sexism and patriarchy occurred within the revolutionary movement as well as alongside it;
In order to gain mutual support, they created networks of women anarchists. Attending meetings with one another, they checked out reports of sexist behaviour and worked out how to deal with it. Flying day-care centres were set up in efforts to involve more women in union activities.
This demonstrated an awareness of the discrimination, both direct and indirect, that can plague even a struggle to reorder society, must be addressed proactively.