Isabel Morant celebrates that women have conquered “privileges that were previously reserved to men”, but warns that discriminations still persist

Isabel Burdiel, Esteban Morcillo, Isabel Morant, Ramon Lapiedra.
Isabel Burdiel, Esteban Morcillo, Isabel Morant, Ramon Lapiedra.

“Today we can say that women have conquered privileges previously reserved to men”, but we have to recognise that “discriminations still remain: wage inequality, the unequal distribution of family and social burdens...” Historian and feminist theorist Isabel Morant, who is currently professor emeritus, expressed her opinion on Friday 19 of January when she received the Medal of the Universitat de València.

This academic event has been hold in the auditorium of the historical building of La Nau. Apart from the honoured person; the principal Esteban Morcillo, the former principal Ramon Lapiedra and historian Isabel Burdiel took the floor.  Lapiedra and Burdiel read the laudation. The councilman of Finance Vicent Soler, the Autonomic Secretary of Culture Albert Girona and several General Directors attended the event.

“Today we can say that women have conquered privileges previously limited to men, freedom of speech, knowledge and a higher presence and responsibility in the public area... We can say that we are freer and have more equal relationships with men...” pointed out Isabel Morant. “If we take a look back to the past, we can be proud of what we are today.  Nonetheless, we must recognise that discriminations still persist: wage inequality, the unequal distribution of family and social burdens... We are aware of how much society expects from us: to be sensible, loving, generous, careful and finally to provide happiness to everyone before ourselves”.

The historian also reflected on the persistent chauvinist ideology and said: “I don’t know if the past is returning or if it is a poorly crafted present.  Unequal and violent. In the last years, we have seen that the indignation has increased among young women and their male companions. I have the impression that these young females, who are using a new type of language, are breaking through.  We should listen to them”.

The new medal winner of the Institution concluded: “We can also observe a new relevant phenomenon these days. I am referring to the protests against powerful men: actors, film-makers, politicians... Powerful men who think they have the right to force –rape– women, as if they were their property.   It could be said that the discomfort expressed these days in New York, Paris or Madrid expounded a greater discomfort. It could be said that what men and women are afraid of and denounce are all the abuses of power from powerful men: I wonder if this is not the discomfort expressed by Trump’s opponents.  In other words, people –men and women– who these days reject oppression over women are democrats fighting against power and defenders of personal freedoms. We could say that the feminist slogan (the personal is political) seems to be back on the headlines”.

You can read the whole intervention of Isabel Morant here.

In his laudation, Ramon Lapiedra expressed: “She did not renounce to anything as a feminist. Quite the contrary, with a kind persistence in the manners and a solid radicalness, she has always taken the right decisions to change the ideology of the World from a secular discrimination towards women to new levels of gender equality”.

Ramon Lapiedra’s speech can be consulted here.

Likewise, Isabel Burdiel said: “The history of women, as she understands it, is not just a mere intellectual and academic activity with themes, proposals and webs.  It is not a brutal, apolitical story. It is a story that is currently vitally linked, and must be linked in the future, to feminism. Or, if preferred, feminisms. Only clumsy minds can confuse this with pamphlets and merely victimised stories”.

Isabel Burdiel’s laudation can be consulted here.

Similarly, the Dean Esteban Morcillo has delimited the recognition to Isabel Morant as part of a wider gratitude from a whole generation of pioneer women in university management: “Isabel Morant was the first female Vice-principal of this University. She was part of the first group of women in the university board, alongside with the former dean of the Faculty of Law and current professor Carmen Alborch, who was recently awarded with the medal of the University, the first female chair in Psychiatry in Spain and first female dean of the Faculty of Medicine Carmen Leal; and the first dean of the Faculty of Philology and current professor Carme Barceló”.

Esteban Morcillo added: “Because all of this, you may allow me to state, in this emotive event, that this recognition to professor Isabel Morant is also a recognition to a whole generation of woman who have fought and have been non-conformists, dedicated and pioneers.

You can consult the Principal’s speech here

Isabel Morant

Isabel Morant Deusa (Almoines, 1947) is Professor Emeritus at the Universitat de València. She stands out for fighting in favour of equality between men and women and being a female forefather university management.  She graduated in Geography and History at the Universitat de València and received the award for the best thesis of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, where she obtained her doctorate with an extraordinary award.

She worked at every academic level in the Departments of Modern history and Contemporary History at the Universitat de València: research professor, assistant professor, leading-course professor, intern associate professor and university chair until her retirement.

She has been for academic purposes at the Margerithe Durand and the Nationale de France libraries and at the Autonomous National University of Mexico. 

She is a pioneer in university management as she was the first female vice-principal at the Universitat de València and the first women to organise the Summer University of the Universitat de València in Gandia.

She is the director of the collection Feminismos from the publishing house Cátedra, the Instituto de la Mujer and the Universitat de València. She was recognised with the Igualdad en el Conocimiento Award from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.

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