María Ángeles Durán Heras


Madrid, 1942

Graduate in CC. Politics and Economics, she has a doctorate in Political Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid. He has received an honorary doctorate from the Autonomous Universities of Madrid, Valencia, Granada, La Rioja, Salamanca, National University of Córdoba (Argentina) and National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico).

Her doctoral thesis “Women's Work” marked the beginning of systematic research on the social conditions in the lives of women in Spain. He has carried out research or teaching stays at the universities of Michigan, Cambridge, Washington (Seattle), PUC of Rio de Janeiro, the European Institute of Florence, the College of Spain in Paris and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. It collaborates with numerous international organizations, including UNESCO, WHO, UNwomen, and ECLAC.

His main field of research is the border between sociology and economics, especially unpaid work. A pioneer in many fields, she was the first woman to obtain a professorship in Sociology in Spain. In 1987 she joined the Higher Council for Scientific Research as a research professor. Currently he continues to carry out his activity, ad honorem, at the Center for Human and Social Sciences.

He has received an honorary doctorate from the Autonomous Universities of Madrid, Valencia, Granada, La Rioja, Salamanca, National University of Córdoba (Argentina) and National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico). She has also been president of the Spanish Federation of Sociology (1998-2001), member of the executive committee of the International Sociological Association, director of the Women's Studies Seminar and the UNESCO Chair of Gender Policies and Equal Rights between Women and Men (2010-2013) at the UAM.

The recognition of his work goes beyond academic boundaries: he has received, among others, the Pascual Madoz National Research Award in Economic, Social and Legal Sciences, the Medal of Extremadura, the Gold Medal for Merit at Work, the Juana Azurduy award from the Senate of the Argentine Republic, the Clara Campoamor Award from the Madrid City Council, the appointment as Honorary Member of the College of Architects of Madrid, the Culture for Health Award (ADEPS), the Messengers of Peace Award and the Protagonistas award awarded by the media for the researcher modality. In 2004, the Autonomous University of Madrid established the María Ángeles Durán Prize, aimed at promoting theoretical and methodological creativity and promoting the quality of research in gender studies.

Author of more than two hundred publications, her books include: “The invisible costs of illness”; “Unpaid work in the global economy”; “If Aristotle would lift his head”; “Research on the use of time”; “The shared city”; and “The invisible wealth of care.” Openly in favor of action research, in her works she vindicates both the rigor of empirical observation and creative imagination and social commitment.

National Prize for Sociology and Political Science 2018


Your Majesty, Madam Vice President of the Government, Mr. President of the CIS, Authorities, ladies and gentlemen, friends, María Ángeles,

This seems like a dream. Being here presenting the National Sociology Award that is going to be awarded by the King of Spain to María Ángeles Durán

Is it a dream? Yes, with my young eyes this is a dream. And I want to keep those eyes to know what we have achieved and value what we have.

This National Sociology Award is an opportunity to defend the importance of Sociology and its contributions to the analysis of problems and social change. Forty or fifty years ago Sociology barely existed. They were minority knowledge, suspected of being radical and rebellious. They studied abroad, but only at the Spanish university. At university, and as a career, it only began in 1974.

Sociology is a knowledge that has not always been recognized prestige. It is argued against its inability to be accurate in its analyses, but in its defense, we can say that Sociology is the discipline that raises the most interesting questions and deals with the issues that matter most to us.

And this prize is given by the king; a constitutional and democratic king as we saw in the countries we longed for, like Sweden or Norway. Countries with democratic traditions, freedoms and greater social equality, which we looked at with envy since the dictatorship and the absence of political rights. Now, as we have just celebrated forty years of our Constitution, we can be proud of a period that began uncertainly but has resulted in many years of peace and prosperity, in which the Spanish crown has played a very positive role.

It is very satisfying that His Majesty presents the National Sociology Award to a magnificent person who, furthermore, is a woman. With my young eyes this is unusual. When I arrived at the Faculty of Politics and Economics there were hardly any professors and none were full professors.

This award reflects what we have changed, what we have advanced and in what direction we have done so. Sociology has also taken a giant leap in recent years. As a discipline, it has been the designer, the analyst and the watchdog of our democracy. Few generations like ours have been lucky enough to study social change and see how it has unfolded before their eyes. There are many perspectives to analyze social changes, but Sociology has, in this sense, an enviable position. And my generation with it. We started by wanting change, fighting for it, and then we dedicated ourselves to analyzing it.

This is what María Ángeles Duran has done at levels of seriousness and depth that this award recognizes at a public and national level. Many of us here are sad not to have José Ramón Torregrosa with us. How he would have liked to be here today! How he would have enjoyed the recognition of his wife, of the woman whom he helped so much and from whom he received so much help. That of María Ángeles and José Ramón was a “marriage of true minds”, as has been said of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, a marriage of encounter between two similar intelligences. United from a very young age, they followed a very close path of study and research, he more in psychology and she more in the sociology of everyday life.

We are here to gloss the work of María Ángeles Durán, to which she has dedicated her entire life. Proust says that great authors carry their work within them and must sacrifice themselves to it, in the best sense of dedication to a cause.

María Ángeles, like Proust, has dedicated part of her life to reflecting on time. And one of her most interesting investigations has been to link the gender perspective to differences in the use of time. Why has the life of men and women been so different until now? Why is it only beginning now, in the 21st century, to be something more similar? Because they have used their time in a different way, because they have dedicated themselves to other things and because the life chronology was marked in a different way for some and for others. We know how task differentiation began, but we still have no explanation for why this task difference became a power difference. Durkheim, in the 19th century, praised the wisdom of humans in dividing work between themselves. Women dedicating their lives to a fundamental task, that of reproduction, and men taking care of protection, creating and building. There is something very intelligent in this division of tasks, but, at the same time, it has been the origin of great inequality.

It is not clear, and Hariri reflects on this in his work Sapiens, why this difference in tasks has historically meant the subjection of women and the power of men over them. How can we explain that the people who do the most amazing, most magical thing, bringing new beings into the world, are left dispossessed of power in most known societies? We know history, we know the succession of events that make it up, but we do not know how this evolution occurred.

Well, although we lack a sufficiently satisfactory explanation of the appearance of patriarchy, we do have, through studies such as those carried out by María Ángeles Duran, a description of its roots and permanence. By studying what women and men spend their time, we understand the subjection of women to the laws of nature for being, for centuries, dedicated to reproduction and care.

With the technical advances of the 20th century, the foundations of the feminist revolution were laid, which began to demand not only similar education for women and men, but fundamentally equal rights to work and social participation. It was the sixties and María Ángeles Duran was there. These are the years in which the echoes of that feminist revolution that had begun within the American demonstrations for civil rights and against the Vietnam War reached our country. All of this resonated in Spanish universities, especially in the Faculty of Political and Economic Sciences in Madrid, which was seething with activism and the desire to change the world. And there was María Ángeles.

Durán's contribution to Sociology has focused on studying a series of aspects that previously went unnoticed. Her great achievement has been to put on the social agenda and in the academic environment the study of a series of issues that, because obvious, were forgotten: unpaid work and the economic value of care, that is, the contribution of women to well-being.

María Ángeles Duran's work has always had in mind the idea of equal opportunities between women and men. She has studied childhood care, rest or work time, and life expectancy, always keeping the gender perspective in mind. Perspective that consists of having our eyes open to the possible discriminations that we do not see due to the fact that “it has always been like this.” As Emilio Lamo de Espinosa recalled two years ago, in a situation similar to today's, the task of Sociology must be to investigate the obvious, the forgotten, what goes unnoticed because "it has always been like this." Problematize everyday phenomena that we took for granted. In this case, gender inequality.

Sociology has been, in Spain, a modernization project and in the work of María Ángeles Durán we have a good example. If there is any change that we can point out among the most important that has occurred in Spain in these years of democratic life, it is the change in the lives of women. Their levels of education, participation in paid work, their levels of autonomy and freedom have represented one of the most profound modernizing transitions in our country. And today, thanks to studies like those of Durán, and thanks to the efforts of thousands of women and men who have taken up the demand for women's rights, we can compare ourselves in satisfactory terms with the most advanced countries in Europe.

María Ángeles Durán graduated from the Faculty of Politics and Economics in 1964, presented her thesis in 1971 on “Women's Work” and won a Chair of Sociology in 1982. At the CSIC, starting in 1987, she has developed a good part of his research on work, family, health and urban planning. Always, with a gender perspective. And, at the same time, with a great social impact. His work has especially served various social groups that have seen their activities vindicated and their demands justified with it.

At the same time, Professor Durán's work has had an important international projection with her conferences around the world. He has also toured Spanish universities as a lecturer. And she has been named Honoris Causa Doctor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, at the University of Valencia and at the University of Granada.

She has also collaborated in the institutionalization of Sociology as a profession, being president of the Spanish Federation of Sociology and as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Sociology, attending Congresses and Symposiums in centers and universities around the world.

Fundamentally, María Ángeles Durán has been a researcher of social reality. There are many topics that have interested you. Health care, family analysis, work-life balance, caregiving times and other activities not considered work. He has also been involved in the organization of cities and has recently published his latest book on “the invisible wealth of care”.

María Ángeles Durán has been an example for generations of young women whom she has taught in the classrooms and inspired with her work. With her life and work she has been an example of what many Spanish women dream of achieving.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate that if there is something singularly important among Duran's works, it is the study of women's unpaid work. Analyzing the value of unpaid work in developed economies and studying to what extent well-being is sustained by these contributions, often invisible and made by women, has been relevant and, at the same time, novel.

Making the unpaid sector of the economy visible makes it possible to account for the unpaid work carried out by women. This vindication of the female contribution to the well-being of all deserves our recognition.

Today she is the first woman to receive the National Sociology Award, just as in 1982 she was the first woman to achieve a Sociology Chair. She has often been the first to achieve something. And I will end by wishing that first times cease to exist because women are citizens with all rights and all opportunities, not minority exceptions in professions and recognitions.

We celebrate an event that has the characteristics of a dream. Using the title of one of his books, “If Aristotle Raised His Head” you wouldn't believe it. An act of such solemnity dedicated to recognizing the achievements of a woman who has dedicated herself to studying topics so close to her own would seem impossible to her. A woman who has stood out among her colleagues, with sufficient and exceptional merits to deserve the National Sociology Award. Thank you so much.