Only 35 years have passed since the death of Francisco Franco, Spain's fascist dictator. Since then, what in 1975 was a backwards, patriarchal country has made huge strides in terms of women's rights. The US is lagging so much behind Spain in what concerns female liberation, that it's scary.
As I reported on this blog a little while ago, Spanish courts have adopted the decision to award equal custody in the majority of divorce cases. This is a lot more progressive (and reasonable) that a court system that considers child-rearing an intrinsically female duty and consistently excludes fathers from taking care of their children on a permanent or a semi-permanent basis.
Yesterday, more good news came from Spain in what concerns liberation from a patriarchal worldview. In terms of last names, Spanish-speaking countries were always a lot less anti-women than the Anglo-Saxon countries. At birth, a person always was given their father's and their mother's last name. Even though the father's last name always came first, this custom at least acknowledged the mother's presence in her child's birth. As we know, the English-speaking world erases women completely from any existence of their own from the moment they get married. Consequently, any children they might have are automatically considered part of their father's family. The female role in child-birth is never even acknowledged.
Yesterday, Spain decided to go even further in its attempts to address gender imbalance. Now, one's last names will come in alphabetical order and will not be based on the parents' gender.
Spain's successes in liberating itself from the legacy of the patriarchy make me wonder when the US will realize how pathetically it is lagging behind the entire developed world in its philosophy of gender. Is this yet another area where we are destined to remain the world's laughing stock forever?
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