The Spanish colonial authorities undermined and dispossessed the native women of their traditional rights. The women of Spain had much more liberty and were allowed to go and work outside their homes. They were allowed to create a name for themselves and sexuality in general was not controlled by the government.
After the colonial authorities came in, this role was declined. They were given fewer rights. The image of women in England was that of an obedient wife who stayed at home and took care of the household. Women were not allowed to marry by their own will and they were not allowed to go outside and work. They were basically confined to the house. The ability to have a separate identity was diminished, they were either known as somebody’s daughter or somebody’s wife.
Women were forced to learn to accept the dual life that their husbands led, with mistresses.
Also, women were not allowed to be educated, and some of the women who did seek education their families preferred to educate them in a convent. There was no public education system designed for women at the time.
Women were not allowed to complain to the authorities about physical violence because the law wanted to protect the sanctity of marriage and did want the troubles of one household become public knowledge. The name of the family was more important than the rights of the individual.
Spain was considered a forward country for its times, the women were allowed to leave the house without a male escort, they were allowed to work and create an identity for themselves. All this ended when it came under the colonial authorities. They made their own rules about the role of women. They changed the way people thought about this subject.
The women did not sit quietly when they saw that their freedom was going away. They decided to take some action, many feminist groups came up. Those women who were educated formed their own groups while those that were students formed their own. There was Legally Separated Women’s organization and a women lawyers’ group.
The women did not like the changes that were taking place; they did not want to be confined to their homes. They did not want to be referred to only by the names of the men in their life. This all happened under the regime of General Franco. Although under his regime there was social and economic prosperity and a middle class developed, he was very stringent in matters related to the freedom of women.
When his regime ended, women’s organizations were on the rise and were making their opinions public knowledge. They would get together and hold meetings. They also started to work under false pretences. They did not sit quietly; they did all the things they could do. They gained access to education. They used their right to vote for their benefit and overthrow the regime of Franco through democracy. They fought back and got most of their rights back.
1. Kimberly Gauderman, 2003, Women’s Lives in Colonial Quito: Gender, Law, and Economy in Spanish, University of Texas Press, http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=D7NPLVPf2wAC;client=firefox-a