Women, care & rural. We aim to encourage a discussion on the feminisation of care work and whether it is related to the prevalence of traditional gender roles in rural communities. We would like to acknowledge the tensions between old social arrangements with youth new mentalities, and contextualize this tension, intergenerational and intercultural, within an environment of a rapidly aging population. This Project aims to serve as an element of cohesion by interdependence and co-responsibility.
Northeast of Spain, Iberian Mountains: Jiloca Valley
One of the challenges faced by Spain is the aging of its population specially worrying in rural areas. In the Jiloca valley, we also find a critically low average density of 5,8p/km2. While the public services available are insufficient to meet the special needs of the population, the burden of care continuous to falls fully on women. Informal care is often added up to domestic and work obligations of women. This is an obstacle, not only to women's personal development but also to their cultural, social and political contributions to the community. We shall not forget that these women hold some of the most valuable and ancient knowledge. The aim of this project to overcome gender inequality by making the current situation visible while ensuring traditional knowledge maintains its value.
Women are the great changemakers of the rural environment. In fact, they have led some of the most important social changes in the last decade. They are beginning to take positions of enormous social relevance, such as the management of organisations or even political seats in the local councils. However, these cultural changes are not always understood, and are rare within the private sector, within small municipalities where caregiving remains part of the female role. In order for women to bring all their capacities to the public sphere as active citizens, care work needs to be redistributed. The creation of a platform outside the home where women are able to freely express themselves will surely help bringing ideas to the table that, in other circumstances, would not be expressed.
The target group for this project is the population of a rural area of some 30,000 inhabitants and, particularly, women over 30 years old who are responsible for the care of others.
The following groups will also be taken into account:
- men and women (regardless of age) who believe gender roles should be kept in place when it comes to the distribution of tasks
- men and women (regardless of age) who have integrated a gender equality perspective into their relationships and duties.
- older women who gather valuable knowledge and care experiences
- adult men
- population in need of care (age related or not)
We aim to create safe spaces and build healthier relationship around 3 core ideas: talk, think and do.Actions:
- Interviews and documentation workshops regarding traditional knowledge in order to a participatory (auto)research
- Deliberation workshops about the civil participation and the traditional roles
- Hands on workshops to build collective elements among the community in order to generate cohesion and new synergies
- Written account, the caregivers could tell their own story as a part of a consciousness raising
- Elaboration mobile installation-exhibition to share the project results
The project will be completed with a photographic account and accompanied by an external contrast group.
We will fit all the activities to participants ages, tempos and capacities.
The result expected after the implementation of this project is for the work of local women in terms of care of relatives, children, the household and so on, to be recognised as a crucial contribution to society.
Nonetheless, we also expect some other positive impacts such as:
- The strengthening of the role of women in building healthy and proactive communities.
- The creation of new relationships between people of different gender, age, origin or beliefs.
-Increased awareness among the local population of the need for co-responsibility between different agents when carrying out care work.
The problematic behind the feminisation of care in the Spanish rural environments (due to the strong upholding of traditional values) is common to many other European countries, particularly those in the Mediterranean strip.
The possibility of generating spaces where the knowledge of rural women can be rescued and gathered together and where different generations of women can re-think their situation and come up with strategies to resolve the unequal distribution of care work today is key to shed light on one of the most important factors that have prevented women from actively participating in the building of modern democracy.
Reflecting on roles should create a methodology and a conclusion that can be exported to other European areas.
There are many reasons why we are very excited about the possibility to materialise this project and the following are just a good example:
- working with the elderly is a great learning opportunity for any younger generation
- the possibility of rescuing women´s knowledge is crucial to ensure gender equality in our society
- everyone will be given a voice to express themselves
- the creation of safe spaces for communication is key to building new and healthier relationships
- traditional discourses around care work must be deconstructed in order to build better societies
- the rural world is rich in many ways and this project is a way to celebrate and recognise its value
Our mission is grounded on the idea of equality: between women and men but also between the rural and the urban
Funding requested from Civic Europe
• General coordination
• Team meetings
Project development 25.300€
• Actors map
• Key agent Interviews
• Reflection and deliberation workshops
• Hands-on workshops
• Attention for caregivers: conciliation spaces, transport provided to activities places, etc.
• Transport costs
Visibility and communication 14.600€
• accompanied report; from inside-out comunication process
• Communication plan
• Graphic material
• mobile installation-exhibition
It would be helpful to find out if the methodology proposed in here may be of interest and even extrapolated to other European rural areas. We are open to receive ideas on how to build alliances throughout the whole process. Needless to say, all feedback will be more than welcome.