There was a time in the History of Portugal – and the world – when, more than just muffled, women's voices were silenced. Because those voices already had a predetermined destiny and defined limits. Women's well-being and survival depended on the quality of their relationship with men, as if women had been created to serve them. This is an article of admiration of the inspiring achievements of those who fought against the system of possession and oppression, long before change was in sight.
The first step towards this change was taken between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, when women became aware that there were infinite possibilities beyond the domestic routine, and that the rules imposed on them did not make so much sense. Although apparently superficial, the liberalization of customs taught women to be bold and different, to deviate from expectations, and to stand up for their own convictions. This attitude would come to overflow and motivate women to organize themselves in order to change their role in society.
Until April 25, 1974, Portuguese women were in a position of undeniable disadvantage. They could not be part of politics, they could not combine a career in nursing and a marriage, the right to abortion was not granted to them under any circumstances. As if this were not enough, women earned 40 % less than men in the same jobs, were subject to the will of the Head of Household, and faced countless injustices throughout their days. The revolution, therefore, came to open a window through which women could look with hope.
- In 1969, women no longer needed their husband's permission to travel abroad.
- In 1974, the special mitigations for the crime of homicide committed by the husband against the adulterous wife were abolished.
- On July 12, 1974, women were admitted to judiciary and diplomatic services.
- The 1976, the Constitution defined that all citizens have the same social dignity and are equal before the law, ending the definition of men as "head of household" and the subsequent obedience of women. In addition, it determined that spouses have equal rights as to civil capacity and the maintenance and education of children.
- In 1984, the first law that decriminalized abortion under certain conditions was passed. Abortion was later legalized in 2007.
- Today, the working population is more or less equally divided between men and women, unlike the scenario in 1974, in which only about 20% of the workers were women.
It is to continue on this fight that Josefinas raises women and their strength every day. We believe that together, step by step, we can achieve anything!