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Sánchez Saornil, Lucía (1895–1970)

Helen Graham

Subject History
Anthropology » Gender and Culture

Place Europe » Western Europe
Iberia » Spain

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics anarchism, bibliography, feminism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01308.x


Lucía Sánchez Saornil, anarcho-feminist poet, journalist, and activist, was one of the most remarkable figures to emerge in the cultural and political ferment of Republican and revolutionary Spain in the 1930s. A subtle and complex thinker on gender, she also played a prominent role in the defense of the Second Spanish Republic during the civil war of 1936–9 , and yet her name is relatively unknown. Sánchez Saornil was an autodidact from a poor Madrid family with no history of political activism. A talented poet, she published as a Futurist–originally under a male pseudonym–and from 1916 worked as a telephone operator in an industry whose burgeoning female workforce in the 1920s was an important index of Spanish modernity. Her experience of the Telefónica strike of 1931 initiated her relatively late political activism in the anarchosyndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) union, one of the most important forces of progressive politics in the newborn Second Republic. Activism brought home to Sánchez Saornil how inaccessible to most women were their new-found political rights. In such an unevenly developed country as Spain, most would remain excluded from citizenship unless they could first become socially, economically, and culturally enfranchised through education and training. To this end, in May 1936, she co-founded Mujeres Libres (Free Women, ML). Although anarchist-inspired, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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