Lisa Lines


The history of the military participation of women during the Spanish Civil War has thus far been neglected, underestimated or downplayed by historians. This article aims to redress this imbalance. It examines the actions of the milicianas, and the military roles they played, from the beginning of the war until July 1937 when the majority of women had been removed from combat. Most of the secondary literature attempts to dismiss the military contribution of the milicianas by arguing that women did not participate in combat on equal terms with men. Instead, the literature focuses on the domestic and auxiliary tasks performed by the militia women at the front. This article shows that in fact women did participate in combat on equal terms with men. Using primary sources, in particular the various memoirs written by milicianas or their oral testimonies, this article discusses the type of combat duties women undertook and the battles in which they were involved. The article demonstrates that the milicianas did make a significant contribution to the Republican war effort.

Author Biography

Lisa Lines, Centre for Rural Health and Community Development University of South Australia