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Lidia Falcón - Spain's most outspoken feminist

Lidia Falcón - Spain's most outspoken feminist

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Published by: Silvia Cuevas Morales on May 28, 2009
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LIDIA FALCÓN O’NEILLSpain’s most outspoken feminist
© Silvia Cuevas-Morales In 1994 the International Women’s Bookfair was held in Melbourne, Australia. Oneof the attendants at the fair was Lidia Falcón, who visited Melbourne with her assistant and life long friend Elvira Siurana. I too attended the bookfair and metthese two women who made such a big impact on my life that I now live and workin Spain.Over the past ten years I have learnt to appreciate Lidiafor her dedication to the feminist cause. During theFranco regime she did not fear imprisonment, beatings,insults, she fought for a better future for all Spanishwomen, and denounced the oppression that womensuffered during the last decades. She has suffered a lotbut has never dwindled in her belief that an egalitariansociety can and should be a reality. Today she’s still asactive as she was when she first started. She continuesto give conferences all over the world, continues towrite in many newspapers and magazines. When all her peers that began the Women’s Movement in Spainhave either become disillusioned, or have ended upaccepting “comfortable” jobs, or have retired, Lidia isstill working hard and has recently returned to her Women’s Buffet in Barcelonawhere she works as a lawyer.
A bit of history
Lidia Falcón was born in Madrid in 1935, not long before the Spanish Civil War.Daughter of a generation of writers and activists, she discovered feminism andliterature at an early age. She studied Dramatic Art at the Drama Institute of Barcelona and later studied Law and Journalism, graduating in both fields. Shealso completed her Doctorate in Law at the University of Madrid.During the 60's she practised law, defending political prisoners, union leaders,workers and women with marital cases. Her legal profession is reflected in anumber of published works dealing with the legal status of women in the SpanishSociety,
Los Derechos Civiles de la Mujer 
(The Civil Rights of Women, 1963),
LosDerechos Laborales de la Mujer 
(The Labour Rights of Women, 1964),
Mujer y Sociedad. Análisis de un Fenómeno Reaccionario
(Woman and society. Analysis of a Reactionary Phenomenon, 1969), a collection of sociological and legal essaysdealing with women and history, women and politics and revolution;
La Razón
© Foto – M. Wry.
 
Feminista I 
(The Feminist Reason I, 1981) and
La Razón Feminista II 
(1982), twoworks which deal with the concept of women as a social and economic class; andthe exploitation of women with regard to human reproduction;
Violencia Contra laMujer 
(Violence Against Women, 1991) and her Doctoral thesis
Mujer y Poder Político
(Woman and Political Power, 1992) which investigates the evolution of thefeminist struggle from the French Revolution to the present.Due to her political activism and her frankness, Lidia soon made herself known asa feminist activist on the left, which led to her persecution and imprisonment in1972 by Franco's dictatorial regime. Her crime - distributing clandestine literaturedenouncing fascism. She spent six months in the Women’s jail “La Trinidad”,Barcelona. When released she continued her work of solidarity and analysis of Spanish society and in 1974 she was imprisoned again, falsely accused of collaborating with ETA, the Basque Independent Group. She spent nine months in jail and a trial was never held. Her experience in jail make up her work
En el Infierno. Ser Mujer en las Cárceles de España
(In Hell. Being a Woman in the Jailsof Spain, 1974) and
Viernes 13 en la Calle del Correo
(Friday the 13
th
on CorreoStreet, 1981).In 1975 Franco died and political parties reappeared, and Lidia published her novel
Es Largo Esperar Callado
(It's a Long Wait When Waiting in Silence), whichattacks the machismo and reformism of the Spanish Communist Party. That sameyear she published the first feminist magazine in Spain -
Vindicación Feminista
which after thirty issues had to close in 1979 due to financial problems. However,that same year she founded the theoretical magazine,
Poder y libertad 
(Power andFreedom), and founded the “Club Vindicación Feminista” (Barcelona), and mostimportantly, the Feminist Party of Spain, which was legalized in 1981.Apart form writing for all major newspapers and giving conferences on women’sissues, in 1982 she was invited to the United Stated where she gave more thanthirty conferences in all major cities. She was also a guest speaker at New York’sPen Club, the Women’s Salon, and at the United Nations. Between 1984 and 1985she was a guest lecturer at The University of Río Piedras and UniversidadInteramericana of Puerto Rico, guest lecturer at Montclair University, and took partin the Women’s International Congress in Nairobi. In 1986 she moved to Madridand with Elvira Siurana opened another branch of the “Club VindicaciónFeminista”. A drop in centre where women could have access to lawyers,psychologists, social workers and enjoy vibrant cultural offerings.Apart from acting as a lawyer, feminist leader and activist, and raising two children,Lidia managed to pursue one of her interests - the theatre. Following her feministline, her theatre deals with the current situation of women in Spanish society. Twoof her plays "A Little Bit of White Snow" and "The Ones Who Always Win" showher political and social preoccupations. 1982 saw the emergence of "The WomenWalked with the Fire of the Century" which deals with feminism and syndicalism,confronting the old with the new. This play has been staged in Spain, Athens, NewYork, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Some of her other plays deal with violence

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