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Historically, the Spanish women's movement, like many others, has spent its time dealing with basic issues (like legal contraception, abortion and divorce). It is currently facing the problems of division and lack of direction seen in feminist movements elsewhere. In recent years, the epidemic of spousal homicide (which claims a woman's life nearly every week in Spain) and abuse has become the major issue for women's movements here.

Easily available contraception and divorce were achieved fairly rapidly with the installation of democracy in the 1970s; abortion still isn't available on demand, though there have been recent amendments to the law to expand the grounds on which a woman can demand a legal abortion.

There is a government department for women based in Madrid - a kind of watchdog organization which publishes surveys and reports on issues affecting women in Spain. It supports initiatives such as the recent government campaign to highlight the problem of domestic violence. The equivalent resource and information centre in the Generalitat is the Institut Català de la Dona.

Barcelona itself has a fairly lively feminist movement , and despite a splintering among the various organizations there are certain facilities used by all groups. You'll be welcome at events and meetings (though proceedings may be in Catalan); check the listings in "Directory", for addresses and details.

Sexual harassment is certainly a possibility in Barcelona and the rest of Spain but is probably no worse than in other European tourist destinations. In fact, Barcelona often seems a much safer place for women to walk the streets than London or New York. However, without a very clear understanding of Catalan or Spanish it can be hard to deal with situations that do arise which you'd cope with quite routinely at home. Common sense and following the guidelines we've given will help you avoid getting into such situations

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