Education International
Education International

Spain: Documentary on women teachers to be screened at World Women’s Conference

published 4 April 2014 updated 7 April 2014

An extraordinary historical documentary on the commitment shown by female teachers in Spain whilst fighting illiteracy will be screened at the Second World Women’s Conference on 6 April in Dublin, Ireland. The award-winning “Las Maestras de la Republica”, which recounts the teachers’ battle for the rights of women and the modernization of education, fits in perfectly with the conference theme, “Women in Trade Unions and in Education: from Words to Action”.

“These teachers were ordinary people and I think we are at a turning point of recovering our identity through historical memory, and with a great enthusiasm for the values introduced by the Second Republic in to our country,” said the documentary’s director, Pilar Pérez Solano.

‘Las Maestras de la Republica’ depicts how, in the early Thirties, a period marked by a movement in favour of public, laic and solidary education, women teachers symbolised the values of the Second Republic. Thought confronted by a conservative society, they fought illiteracy that extended to 32 per cent of those over 10 years old.

Reclaiming history

However, the teachers endured a fierce backlash when civil war and General Franco’s coup d’état brought an end to the Republic. Many suffered harassment, imprisonment, or, even worse, assassination. Many more had to go into exile.

“With this documentary, we take a new step in the recovery of our history,” said Carlos López Cortiñas, FETE-UGT General Secretary. “Its ideological and pedagogical legacy is more necessary than ever to defend the education in which we believe. These teachers’ lives are testimony to the commitment to education, justice, and equality. This memory is part of our present and our future.”

EI: Advocates for gender equity

EI President, Susan Hopgood stressed: “This remarkable documentary shows how our colleagues fought hard to conquer rights for women and for women to be independent and free, and were great advocates for gender equity. Through their dedicated work as teachers, they also planted the seeds of quality public education.”

‘Las Maestras de la Republica’ received the Goya award for best documentary film 2014, the main national annual film award in Spain.  Join FETE-UGT delegates at the conference and exchange your impressions about the film and the role of women in education.

The documentary will be screened in Spanish with English subtitles, courtesy of EI’s Spanish affiliate, the Federación de Trabajadores de la Enseñanza (FETE-UGT).

‘Las Maestras de la Republica’ (60 minutes) was directed by Pilar Pérez Solano and produced by FETE-UGT (España) in collaboration with Transit Productions, 2013.

The documentary is popular in Spain and has been screened in many theatres, cinemas, and cultural houses. In Latin America, it has been screened in Paraguay and Argentina. Future screenings are planned for the Cervantes Institute in Paris as well as Mexico City.

More information about the film and related education material is available at http://www.lasmaestrasdelarepublica.com