Sex, Reproduction and Oral History

Holly Ashford

The Gender and Sexuality History Workshop hosted its last speaker of the term a couple of weeks ago. Roseanna Webster gave a nuanced and intimate view of the fight for reproductive rights in the Spanish barrios. Her paper, entitled: Reproductive Rights in Spain’s Barrios During the 1970s navigated  geographical and class divides to explore how birth control reached the neighbourhoods of Spain’s cities in the 1970s. Given my own research on women’s reproductive health in the very different context – Ghana – but in a similar time period, I was very interested to hear Roseanna’s paper!

Roseanna demonstrated the conflict between ideologies for birth control. Marxist inspired, young, urban, feminists sought to lead the sexual revolution by entering neighbourhood spaces and telling barrios women about their rights to sexual and reproductive freedoms. On the other hand, barrios women were keen to organise for birth control, but for the most part on a materialist level. They framed their freedom from giving birth to child after child into conditions of poverty, as an economic matter.

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